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Texting and driving

Posted by attorney James Layrisson

Can the police stop and ticket me for texting and driving? In a word, yes. Text messaging while driving is illegal in Louisiana. It is also extremely dangerous. Louisiana Revised Statute 32:300.5 prohibits drivers from "using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication." The fine, $175 for first offense, increases to $500 for subsequent offenses. Fines can be doubled if an accident is involved. Texting messaging while driving is far more dangerous than mobile phone talking and driving. Studies have shown texting drivers to be 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash than non-distracted drivers. Texting takes a driver's focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds -- enough time to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph! In years past, the crime of texting and driving was considered a secondary offense, meaning that police officers could not pull you over for that violation alone. However, effective August 15, 2010, text messaging while driving becomes a primary offense. The upshot is you can be stopped and ticketed for texting while driving despite the absence of other traffic offenses. Considering the obvious dangers and legal liability associated with texting and driving, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road until you reach your destination.

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