When Facebook Is A Crime

Texting and driving has been illegal in Louisiana for about eight years.  Over the last several months, local law enforcement seems to have been stopping more and more people for this violation—especially between Baton Rouge and Livingston.  Everyone would probably agree that texting and driving is dangerous.  Still, it is debatable whether this is the best use of crime fighting resources.

The crime of texting and driving is covered by R.S. 32:300.5, which considers it a violation to use “any wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication” while driving a vehicle.  This pretty much covers any cell phone or computer device.

It’s not really clear how people are getting caught.  Some cities use spotters with binoculars on overpasses and a chase car on the ground to run down the offending motorists.  Other times, people are likely spotted when a police officer drives by their car in traffic and sees them looking down using a smart phone.

The law specifically bans posting on social networks.  One difference between the Louisiana law and that of many states is that entering info into GPS devices does not appear to be covered by the statute.  This is a little surprising, since GPS machines can be harder to input information into than smart phones. 

Louisiana treats these charges as moving violations, creating a mark on your driving record if you get caught, plus possible higher insurance rates. It is not clear if the new law is working to stop people from texting and driving, but time and statistics will tell.

–Written By: Greg Gouner
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