•ACT 203 (Effective August 15, 2010) makes text messaging, using a wireless communication device while driving a motor vehicle, a primary offense for all Louisiana drivers. The new law also prohibits persons 17 years of age or younger to operate a motor vehicle while using any "wireless telecommunications device".
A wireless communication device includes cell phones, PDAs, laptops, pagers and similar communication devices. Under the new legislation, law enforcement officers may initiate a traffic stop for these offenses alone.*
•*Note: Cell phone use for persons over the age of 17 is still legal in Louisiana.
•ACT 1039 (Effective January 1, 2011) increases the amount of time a minor with a learner’s permit will spend in supervised “behind-the-wheel” training to fifty (50) hours, with at least fifteen (15) of those hours to include nighttime driving. Those drivers holding an intermediate license (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, a licensed adult at least twenty-one (21) years of age, or a licensed sibling at least eighteen (18) years of age), are restricted from driving from 11 pm to 5 am. The law also restricts them from transporting more than one passenger that is under the age of twenty-one (21) and who is not an immediate family member.
•ACT 813 (Effective August 15, 2010) allows persons riding bicycles upon a roadway with an improved shoulder, the option of riding on that improved shoulder rather than in the lane of travel. The new law also states that every bicycle, when in use at nighttime on a state highway, parish road, or city street, must be equipped with a rear lamp that emits a red flashing light or a red light sufficient to be seen from within 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear. It also requires the use of a front headlamp at night.
•ACT 618 (Effective August 15, 2010) now requires driver’s education courses to include information on sharing the road with pedestrians, bicyclists and transit vehicles.
•ACT 810 & ACT 565 (Effective August 15, 2010) now makes synthetic cannabinoids an illegal substance and lists them as a Schedule I drug under LA R.S. 40:966. This creates the crime of the unlawful production, manufacturing, distribution, or possession of prohibited plants and adds hallucinogenic substances to Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances.
•ACT 506 (Effective August 15, 2010) expands drug free zones from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet from designated properties.
•ACT 925 (Effective August 15, 2010) prohibits carrying a concealed handgun on any school, school property, or school bus, and authorizes concealed handgun permit holders to carry a concealed handgun within 1,000 feet of school property.
•ACT 516 (Effective August 15, 2010) substantially redefines the crime of pornography involving juveniles. This law makes the practice of “sexting” pornographic images of juveniles a crime.
•ACT 989 (Effective August 15, 2010) creates the crime of Cyber Bullying and defines it as the transmission of any electronic textual, visual, written, or oral communication with the malicious and willful intent to coerce, abuse, torment, or intimidate a person under the age of 18.
•Additional laws enacted during the 2010 Louisiana Legislative Session can be viewed at www.legis.state.la.us