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Louisiana cellphone and driving laws could tighten

La. Bill HB no.376 could ban holding cellphones in vehicle.
Posted at 9:37 PM, Apr 04, 2022

A bill to enhance enforcement on using your phone while driving is expected to hit the Louisiana House floor on Tuesday.

HB Bill no.376 aims to crack down on phone use in vehicles.

Mike Huval, District 46 State representative, introduced the bill.

Huval said this is the sixth time state legislature has voted on the bill and he is confident it will pass.

“Last year it passed the House with 77 votes, fairly simply," said Huval. "Considering it didn’t pass, I got a lot of resistance. But members now see I’m not doing this for no other reason but for safety."

If passed, the bill would prohibit the use of a wireless telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle. There are exceptions in place for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency services or EMS practitioners.

“I saw first-hand what driving with a phone in your hand has done to different people's lives," Huval said. "With loss of life and injuries, all I was trying to do here is to make driving a vehicle and speaking on a phone safer."

Mathew Benoit, Lafayette Police Department spokesperson said the department is equipped for the law change.

"You cannot text and drive in the state of Louisiana. So, honestly, if that bill passes all that does is create a situation where you’re not only going to be texting and driving and be in violation of the law," he said. "If you’re holding a phone while driving, you’ll be in violation."

The first offense would be a warning and the second offense could result in an up to 500 dollar fine, according to Huval.

The House will debate the bill on Tuesday, April 5.

If passed by the Louisiana House, the bill will go to the Senate Transportation Committee for debate before going to the full Senate for a final vote.

Once passed by both chambers, the bill will head to the Governor's desk to become law.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month begins with debate on distracted driving bill

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