Skip to main content
Motor Vehicle Accident

Distracted Driving Takes Center Stage In Louisiana School Zones

By May 15, 2024No Comments

Residents in Louisiana are accustomed to officials launching campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. These efforts are typically observed around significant holidays such as the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Mardi Gras, among others.

In recent years, similar efforts have been initiated focusing on distracted driving, including a new campaign centered around the state’s capital.

In this blog, our car accident lawyers at Pierce & Shows will explain the nuances of distracted driving, particularly in Louisiana school zones, the penalties imposed on negligent drivers during the car accident, and the compensation available to the injured party.

What Is Distracted Driving?

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission defines distraction as any activity that diverts a driver’s attention removes their hands from the wheel, or shifts their gaze away from the road.

Most of Louisiana’s distracted driving legislation targets using handheld cell phones while operating a vehicle. This is due to the prevalence and hazardous nature of cell phone use and texting as driving distractions.

Can You Make a Phone Call in a Louisiana School Zone?

In 2021, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission reported that 678 individuals lost their lives due to distractions, whether inside or outside the vehicle, while another 23,089 people sustained severe injuries.

One of the few locations in Louisiana where all drivers, regardless of age, are prohibited from using their cell phones is within school zones. This measure was implemented to safeguard pedestrians and cyclists, particularly school-age children, from potential accidents involving vehicles in these zones.

As per RS 32:300.8, it is against the law for any motorist to utilize a wireless telecommunications device to make calls, text, access social networking sites, or engage in text-based communication while in a school zone during its designated operational hours. However, motorists aged 18 and above with a valid license are permitted to make hands-free phone calls in school zones.

What Does Hands-Free Mean While Driving?

For those unfamiliar with the concept of “hands-free” you might wonder: ‘How can I make a hands-free call while driving?’

A hands-free call lets you converse and listen without holding the device. This is typically achieved through:

  • An earpiece, such as a Bluetooth earpiece, linked to your phone;
  • The vehicle’s dashboard system, if it has phone compatibility features; or
  • The speakerphone functions on a cell phone mounted on the dashboard

Campaign Against Distracted Driving Around School Zones in Louisiana

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Destination Zero Deaths, and law enforcement in the Baton Rouge area are joining forces to address distracted driving within school zones. The Capital Regional Transportation Safety Coalition sponsored the campaign.

There has been increased oversight by law enforcement officers looking for drivers who were using their phones with their hands or who are otherwise not paying proper attention to the act of driving.

According to a report provided by WAFB9, one man spoke candidly about how his life had been changed due to the actions of a distracted driver. One month before his accident, he had completed an entire marathon, running the full 26.2 miles. Now, he must be cared for by his wife as his injuries are too extensive for him to even take care of himself. His wife also was injured in the crash but is at least capable of providing care for herself and her husband.

Given the rise in incidents related to distracted driving, the National Safety Council designates April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Penalties for Distracted Driving in Louisiana

Using a cell phone in a Louisiana school zone can result in fines ranging from $500 for a first-time offense to $1,000 for subsequent violations, along with a 60-day suspension of a driver’s license. 

The fine is doubled if texting and driving or using social media leads to a motor vehicle accident.

Compensation You Can Get After a Texting and Driving Accident

If you’ve experienced an accident caused by texting while driving and endured physical, emotional, or mental harm, you might be entitled to seek compensation. 

Consulting with a proficient car accident attorney can help ascertain if you’re eligible to reclaim expenses related to:

Legal Assistance for Victims of Negligent Drivers

Louisiana’s texting and driving regulations aim to safeguard our residents, yet they cannot shield us from the actions of individuals who opt to violate these regulations. If you’ve been injured due to a distracted driver’s negligence, you possess legal entitlements. 

For insights into your rights and legal avenues after a distracted driving incident in a Louisiana school zone, getting in touch with a reliable Baton Rouge law office like Pierce & Shows is a great option. 

We offer complimentary consultations to listen to your narrative and address your inquiries. We’ve handled cases like yours before, so we are equipped with experience to help you build a strong defense against personal injury cases.

Contact Pierce & Shows Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a distracted driving collision, it’s crucial to seek legal counsel. A skilled attorney can explain your rights and chart a clear course of action for your lawsuit.

At Pierce & Shows, we are committed to ensuring that each client feels empowered in their pursuit of justice. We urge accident survivors to take advantage of a free, no-pressure consultation by contacting us at 225-388-9574.

Skip to content