Rep. Mike ‘Pete’ Huval said, “Louisiana is 49th in the U.S. for the most distracted drivers. We’re seventh highest for traffic fatalities in the United States.”
He added that between 60 and 80 percent of accidents are caused by people who are using technological devices while driving.
Huval provides an expert opinion – he has been an independent insurance agent for more than 15 years and currently serves on the Louisiana House Committee on Insurance.
The issue, Huval said, is that the current penalties do not provide a deterrent; they are vague, and the consequences are far too weak. “If people know that something is not enforceable, they will continue to do it,” he said.
In the last 15 years, there have been more than 15 House and Senate bills – as well as three binding resolutions. Lawmakers in Louisiana are trying desperately to stem the flow of fatalities and car accidents caused by people who use cell phones and mobile devices while driving.
Considering the fact that school zones routinely comprise the dangerous combination of heavy traffic and youngsters, this area is one of the few places where the cell phone ban is respected. This is often attributed to the substantial fines; using a cell phone or mobile device in a school zone will result in a $175 fine, a $500 for each additional offense – and license points as it is considered a moving violation.
If the driver is texting or e-mailing and is involved in an accident, the fines double.
A recent study, which used data collected by an application that allows users to see how frequently their family members are using their phones while driving, found that Louisiana has the second highest rate in the U.S. for drivers using their phones while driving.
As of August of 2011, texting and driving became a primary offense, meaning that police officers are now able to pull over and ticket drivers solely for texting or checking e-mail while driving in school zones.
Support for change
The majority of Louisiana residents supported Huval’s bill – but it did not pass the senate and will not be enacted.
Several residents, including Gabrielle Madere and Suzanne Salter testified in support of the measures. Both women lost their daughters to car crashes involving texting and driving.
In addition to texting, the bill would have prohibited taking selfies, pictures, reading and checking social media sites. Law enforcement would have had the authority and the ability to seize the mobile device in order to verify, via time stamping, that the texting activity occurred.
Call for help
If you are involved in a crash and you suspect that the other driver may have been texting or using their cell phone before or during the crash, please call the Ross Downs Law Firm immediately. Our team of trained professionals has the experience and skill to litigate the most complex and personal injury cases – and get you the justice and compensation that you deserve.
The Ross Downs Law Firm is more than a simple resource for accident and injury law – our mission is to champion the rights of victims who have been wronged. Ross Downs is dedicated to getting justice for you – he is on your side.
Call the Ross Downs Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation.
The Ross Downs Law Firm
517 North Washington Street
Bastrop, LA 71220