Louisiana’s scenic landscapes and urban vistas often inspire drivers to reach for their phones and capture the moment. As social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram grow in popularity, the inclination to share these moments has intensified.

But before you press record, consider the state’s firm stance on distracted driving. Understanding Louisiana’s laws is not just about abiding by rules but prioritizing the safety of all road users.

Whether you’re capturing memories or simply commuting, knowing what is allowed and what isn’t can prevent accidents and ensure a safe and responsible experience for all road-users.

What Are Louisiana’s Distracted Driving Laws?

Louisiana’s law on using handheld wireless devices while driving is straightforward: no texting, emailing, or social media use behind the wheel. This means you can’t write, send, or read any text-based messages, including accessing social networking sites when driving.

The law further drivers with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses, drivers under the age of 18, and drivers passing through school zones from making phone calls while driving.

These laws apply to cell phones, text messaging devices, digital assistants, computers, and similar devices that aren’t attached to the vehicle. It also applies whether your vehicle is in motion or stopped at a stop sign or red light. As long as you are operating the car on a Louisiana roadway, you should not use your device for taking or viewing photos or videos, either. You should only use your phone when legally parked.

The law is part of Louisiana’s broader efforts to reduce distractions and increase road safety. It applies to all drivers regardless of age and is enforced to prevent the risks associated with distracted driving, such as accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Distracted driving is a major issue in Louisiana. In 2021, 678 people died due to distracted driving, and 23,089 suffered serious injuries. Here are several common scenarios for recording or taking photos while in the car, outlining whether they are legal and what you can do instead to stay safe:

ActionLegalityWhat to Do Instead
Filming a video for a social media platform like Facebook Live, Snapchat, or TikTok.Expressly illegal.Either have a passenger record the video or do so in a parked car in a legal parking spot.
Snapping a photo or video of something outside of the window (for instance, a sunset or cute animal).Illegal when then also posted to social media or sent via text message or email while driving.Find a place to stop the vehicle and use your camera or have a passenger use the camera.
Taking photos or videos of a reckless or erratic driver to show to the police.The recording may be considered legal when reporting a crime, accident, or emergency.Pull over first before reporting as much information as you can to the police to avoid a potential distracted driving charge against yourself.
Installing a dashcam.Legal as long as it does not obstruct the driver’s view.Ensure the dashcam is properly installed. This can mean mounting it on the dashboard rather than the windshield where it might obstruct the driver’s view.

Tips for Following Louisiana’s Distracted Driving Laws While Protecting Your Rights

While adhering to Louisiana’s distracted driving laws is crucial, you might need to take photos or videos while driving when documenting a crime in progress or someone else’s erratic driving. If you find yourself in this situation, use these tips to help safeguard your rights:

  • Prioritize safety. Always put your safety and the safety of others first. If capturing a photo or video while driving could jeopardize safety, it’s best not to proceed.
  • Pull over. If you need to capture a moment or gather evidence, find a safe place to pull over and park your vehicle before using your phone.
  • Enlist a passenger. If there’s a passenger with you, delegate the camera work to them so you can concentrate on driving.
  • Turn on your dashcam. Make sure your dashcam is properly mounted and doesn’t block your view. Also, ensure you can easily access the recorded footage when necessary.
  • Use your infotainment center. Louisiana’s law doesn’t extend to devices that are attached to the vehicle. Consider connecting your phone to your car’s system to activate a message or phone call to emergency services with a voice command rather than try to take a video one-handed with the other on the wheel.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident involving distracted driving or any other negligence, protect your rights and seek legal guidance with Dudley DeBosier. Our car accident lawyers have years of experience handling car accident claims and can help you understand your rights and legal options after a crash.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case, and let us guide your next steps.

Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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