(The Middle Sq.) — A invoice to outlaw hand-held cell telephones whereas driving is heading to the Louisiana Senate after lawmakers within the Home authorised the measure this week.
The Home voted 55-38 to approve House Bill 376, sponsored by Rep. Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge, to ban the usage of cell telephones whereas driving, with some exceptions. The same invoice cleared the home over the past legislative session, however fell quick within the Senate.
“The one factor I am attempting to do with this invoice is attempting to advertise secure driving and talking in your cellular phone,” Huval stated on Monday.
Huval outlined a number of current amendments to the laws that stipulated those that violate the legislation will not lose their driver’s license, that an officer should visually observe a driver holding a telephone, that offenders can’t be arrested and the addition of a two-year sundown.
“If this can be a invoice that works and helps, it continues,” Huval stated. “If we see it has flaws and is inflicting issues, it goes away.”
HB 376 limits the advantageous for an infraction to $100, and affords an choice to do group service as an alternative. The invoice is designed to stop in opposition to abuse by racial profiling by gathering details about these cited that shall be forwarded to the governor and legislative leaders.
Huval relayed quite a few tales of lawmakers and constituents who’ve been concerned in distracted driving collisions in recent times, together with a number of fatalities involving youngsters.
“I let you know these tales as a result of I am not attempting to take the rights of individuals to make use of a cellular phone,” he stated. “I would like anyone’s daughter, mom, or father, or whoever it could be to have the flexibility to make use of a telephone when wanted. I am attempting to advertise secure driving.”
HB 376 contains exceptions for legislation enforcement, firefighters and first responders, in addition to for reporting a visitors collision, medical emergency, or different emergency or critical street hazard. There’s additionally exceptions for “a state of affairs wherein the particular person believes an individual is in jeopardy of significant damage or demise” and “dialing 9-1-1 to report a criminal offense in progress.”
The invoice states “for any violation occurring earlier than January 1, 2023, the legislation enforcement officer shall challenge solely a written warning.” HB 376 additionally prohibits police from accessing or confiscating a wi-fi communications system with no warrant.
Huval described how HB 376 takes a extra lenient strategy than Louisiana’s present distracted driving legislation, which prohibits texting and utilizing social networks whereas working a car.
“The present legislation … a driver will be pulled over for texting or utilizing social media whereas driving and there’s no safety in opposition to the search of a driver, their telephone, their automotive and it doesn’t shield in opposition to arrest of the driving force,” he stated. “The present advantageous is $500 and the second offense is $1,000 and there’s no capability to do group service.
“This invoice, ought to it change into legislation, the primary advantageous shall be $50 to $100 or none with group service. The second or thereafter could be $100 or group service.”
HB 376 handed the Home with out questions or objections. The measure was supported within the Home Transportation Committee in March by the advocacy group StopDistractions.org. Cease Distractions CEO Jennifer Smith instructed committee members 24 states and the District of Columbia have related legal guidelines, and information from different states exhibits they’re efficient.
“Georgia’s hands-free legislation for distracted driving crashes the primary 12 months they’d the legislation in impact in 2019, which was half the 12 months, there was a 48% drop in distracted driving crashes,” she stated. “And so they noticed a few seven to 12 p.c drop since in all fatalities.”
HB 376 now heads to the Senate for consideration.