In A Flash

Louisiana drivers may soon be ordered to keep their hands off their phones

By: - May 19, 2021 7:19 pm

(Stock photo by Shutterstock)

Louisiana drivers may soon be prohibited from holding their phones as they drive.

Rep. Mike Huval’s (R-Breaux Bridge) HB 565, which would prohibit drivers from “holding or physically supporting a wireless telecommunications device in either or both hands or with any part of the body” passed in the Louisiana House by a 76-21 vote.

Currently, there are 24 states that prohibit drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving, and Huval said to the House floor that his bill doesn’t seek to keep people from using a phone, but make it safer for them to drive. It would allow drivers to an earpiece or headphone device or even a wrist-worn device to conduct phone calls.

Present law bans hand-held devices in school zones. Huval’s bill would ban hand-held devices on all roads.

If Huval’s bill becomes law, drivers spotted with phones in hand will be issued warnings until January 1, 2022. Then they would be fined up to $100 on their first offense or up to 15 hours of community service. A second offense would bring a fine of up to $300 or up to 30 hours of community service and up to $300 on their third offense or up to 60 hours of community service and suspension of their driver’s license for 30 days.

Rep. John Stefanski (R-Crowley) added an amendment that a police officer can’t use the driver’s use of a phone as justification to search the driver or their car. The bill moves to the Senate.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.