During the last legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers upgraded the existing law prohibiting text messaging to “primary enforcement status.” This means that law enforcement can now stop and cite violators if the officers observe someone texting while driving. The current law is as follows: text messaging is banned for all drivers and drivers under 18 years old may not use any wireless devices while driving.
While it remains to be seen how this new law will be enforced and to what extent this enforcement will ultimately diminish the unsafe usage of cell phones while driving, it is clear after taking the short drive from my house to work that too many drivers are doing too much to take their attention off the road. One consequence of the legislature’s anti-texting bill may be its effect in helping prove another party’s negligence in a personal injury cases. Although Louisiana courts have rejected the concept that a violation of a statute necessarily renders a defendant liable to a plaintiff, if you suffer damages as a result of another party “texting” at the wheel, the new statute can still come into evidence and go towards persuading the jury that the defendant who injured you was negligent.