According to a study by Louisiana State University, over 2,000 motor vehicle accidents occurred in the state due to cell phone distractions in 2011. Despite this, Louisiana has no law against talking on cell phones while driving, with the exception of drivers under 18 and bus drivers.
Tim Burns, a State Representative, hopes to reduce the incidence of distracted driving on one Louisiana road, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, by passing a bill at an upcoming legislative session that would ban cell phone use on the bridge. In recent years, the Causeway has seen an increase in distracted driving accidents, resulting in vehicles falling off the bridge and into Lake Pontchartrain. According to Burns, the number of cars driving off the bridge has jumped from one car overboard every five years to now three cars overboard every year.
Burns’ bill is meant to force drivers to utilize hands-free devices to talk on the phone. The ban is similar to other Louisiana laws, such as one making it illegal to use cell phones in school zones. Though the bill would have a small, localized effect, hands-free laws could be a step in the right direction in decreasing the rate of distracted driving accidents in Louisiana.
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