Posted: Aug 14, 2010 6:28 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Aug 15, 2010 3:23 PM
Let's admit it- if you can text, you've probably tapped your phone while driving.
"I see women all the time with children in the car," Abbey Bandali said. "(They're) weaving in and out of traffic."
Bailey Bobbitt says, "look over and sure enough, they're texting or talking on the phone."
"People can't even go down the road anymore without having their cell phone in their hand," said Jacque Hasting.
Starting this Sunday- that becomes illegal.
Before, drivers would still be cited for texting and driving but police needed another reason to pull a driver over. For example, running a stop-sign or reckless driving.
Now, police can pull you over if they just suspect you're texting and driving.
"Even though people are telling people not to do it, I still think people are going to do it." Gregory Landry said.
Landry compares this new law to speeding laws- just because the speed limit is 70, people will still drive 75, 80 or higher.
According to many recent studies, texting and driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving. The average text can take a driver's eyes off the wheel for five-seconds- but the question many drivers have is:
How will police enforce this law?
"If it's causing their driving to be impaired by a certain extent then obviously they're doing more than just dialing on the phone," Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police said.
Many police departments already have a plan in place to catch violators of the new law.
Mounton says, "we're gonna tell our officers that if they can clearly see someone has a phone and is in the process of texting and is distracted from the roadway, then they need to enforce that law."
Even at a red-light or a stop sign, if you're texting- you can get fined up to 500-dollars. Intersections are still considered part of the roadway- and while you may be stopped, Mouton says you still need to be aware of what's happening on the road.
"The best thing to do," Mouton says, "is to simply pull-over into a parking lot- somewhere off the roadway."
However, Landry says the law will not stop people from gazing-down every now and then.
"They're still going to do it," Landry said. "Even though there's a law."
Some other laws going into effect include another cell-phone law for drivers under the age of 17. New drivers are no longer allowed to use hand-held devices at all.
Other laws are more bizarre- KATC found a few that may make you wonder why we pay our lawmakers...
House Bill 606 prohibits swine running at large.
House Bill 1354 regulates the sale, barter, trade and possession of nonindigenous and poisonous snakes and constrictors... a law possibly spurred by Snakes on a Plane?
House Bill 1269 states it is now illegal for criminal street gangs to solicit children for membership.
Senate Bill 528 requires an obstetric ultrasound to be performed prior to an abortion.
House Bill 1024 amends the crime of false representation of controlled dangerous substances- any transportation or delivery of counterfeit controlled substances will now be enforced.
House Bill 43 expands drug free zones from 1,000-feet to 2,000 feet near designated properties like schools.
House Bill 825 adds human trafficking for sexual purposes to the list of sex offences and violent crimes.
Finally, this one may have animal-lovers begging for mercy-
House Bill 408 authorizes authorities to euthanize dogs seized in connection with dogfighting.
To see every new law, visit http://www.legis.state.la.us/ and click on "Effective Dates of Acts."