New State Driving Laws Now in Effect

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 By Beth Fussell

A state law went into effect last month that changes some of the rules concerning cell phone use in the driver’s seat.  Before last month, texting while driving was a secondary offense.  No one could be pulled over solely for texting, but if you were caught for another violation, you could get a ticket for texting while driving, also.  Texting behind the wheel is now a primary offense, meaning police can pull you over if they see you doing it.  Many of us think that we will not get caught if we do it, and that is probably true for most people.  However, consider the consequences for others of driving distracted, especially in a community that has recently seen so much heartache over preventable car accidents.

The law also poses strict rules on teens.  Minors are now not allowed to be on the cell phone at all while driving, except in the case of an emergency.  Drivers with learner’s or intermediate licenses are also not allowed to use cell phones unless a hands-free device is attached.  Louisiana legislators are attempting to cut down on auto accidents that are too often the result of distracted driving while on a cell phone.  Please keep these new laws in mind as you get behind the wheel.  These new rules are the result of Louisiana Senate Bill 9.  A $175 ticket will be given for the first offense for any of these violations.

Also, bear in mind that cruising in the left lane of a multi-lane road is now illegal, and officers are passing out tickets for doing so.