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Distracted Driver Accidents | November 25, 2017

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Law Banning Texting While Driving in Louisiana is Hard to Enforce

Law Banning Texting While Driving in Louisiana is Hard to Enforce
Kiernan Hopkins

In the United States, a fourth of all drivers admit to using their cell phones while operating a vehicle.  However, in the state of Louisiana where distracted driving has been banned for many years, police admit to only writing tickets for less than one percent of traffic offenders.

Driving awareness campaigns like “Click-It Or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” have had tremendous success In the past.  National transportation groups are trying to replicate the success of these previous campaigns with the slogan “Put It Down”.  This catchphrase is meant to deliver the message to distracted drivers that texting takes your eyes off the road for an average time of 5 seconds, which is enough time to cover the entire length of one football field while driving.

Many Louisiana based police officers have come forward and admitted that the laws Louisiana has in place banning texting while driving are actually very hard to enforce.  Troy Flores is a Corporal in the Shreveport, LA Police Traffic Division, and he states that “people tend to look around a lot more when they’re doing something that they know is illegal.  They’re going to be looking around, looking for us”.

In 2014 the Shreveport Police Department gave out over 48,000 traffic citations.  The majority of these citations were tickets for speeding, no seat belts, and insurance violations.  Out of all the traffic tickets handed out, only 18 of them were for texting and driving.  So far in 2015 the Shreveport Police Department has only issued 11 texting while driving tickets.

Proving probable cause is one of the major factors for the small number of tickets issued for texting and driving in Louisiana.  Shreveport Police Department spokesperson, Bill Goodin, says that “according to the statute, we have to be able to articulate we know, we don’t think, they might doing it, that we know.”

While the Louisiana law may ban texting while driving, it does allow for drivers to dial numbers, speak on the phone, look up addresses and use other functions on their cell phones.  Last month the Supreme Court ruled that police must obtain a warrant in order for them to be able to go through any suspect’s cellphone.  Because of this “more often than not, they’ll try to be deceptive. ‘No.  I was making a phone call.  No I was turning my phone off’” Goodin states.

Since most police officers in Louisiana realize that the law is about saving people’s lives and not writing and issuing tickets, they often pull over drivers and write them tickets for other types of violations that show up on cop car dash-cam videos and often times occur as a result of texting and driving.  Some of these violations include improper lane changes and speeding.  Police say that the only time you should use your phone in which it is completely legal, is to call and report other drivers who are driving erratically, and or driving under the influence.

If you are involved in an auto accident caused by the negligent actions of someone else, first contact the necessary medical personnel, then get into touch with an experienced Lafayette, LA personal injury attorney for a free legal consultation and legal help.  An attorney will help you recover the proper amount of compensation for you and or your loved one’s full physical and emotional recovery.

 

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