Louisiana beefs up texting ban

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a new law June 17 that makes texting while driving a primary offense beginning Aug. 15.

“Innocent people should not lose their lives because someone chose to text while driving,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “That’s why I’m pleased Louisiana has passed a tough new law banning this irresponsible behavior. This sends a clear message: texting and driving don’t mix.”

This law strengthens Louisiana’s 2008 texting ban, which allowed law enforcement officials to ticket drivers caught using their phones only if they were pulled over for another offense. Drivers caught texting behind the wheel will continue to face a fine of $175 for the first offense and up to $500 for additional offenses.

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured.

For more information on distracted driving and the Department of Transportation’s work, visit www.distraction.gov.

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