Apr 15, 2010 4:33 PM by Melissa Canone
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's ban on text messaging while
driving would be toughened, under a bill approved Thursday by the
Senate Transportation Committee.
Currently, a driver can only be cited for texting while driving
if a police officer stops the driver for another alleged violation.
Sen. Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, wants to make texting while
driving a primary offense - meaning that police officers could stop
a driver for that traffic violation without needing another reason.
The committee approved the bill (Senate Bill 9) without
objection, sending it to the full Senate for debate. If approved by
the Legislature, the change would take effect Aug. 15.
Penalties for sending text messages while behind the wheel -
with an exception for emergencies - can reach up to $175 for the
first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.