The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has enacted several regulations to keep drivers and passengers safe on the road. These regulations cover everything from helmet use, drunken driving, seat belts, child car seats and cell phone use. It is your responsibility to comply with these regulations to avoid penalties such as driver’s license suspension, fines, tickets or jail terms.
Child Car Seat Laws
A child passenger must ride in child car seat or a booster seat until they reach 8 years old. These are some basics of the child car seat laws:
- Any child under 1 year old and weighing less than 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing seat or convertible seat at the back seat of your vehicle.
- Any child between 1 year old and 4 years old and weighing between 20 pounds to 60 pounds must ride in a forward-facing convertible seat at the back seat.
- Children aged between 4 years old and 6 years old must ride in a booster seat.
- Any passenger older than 6 years old or weighing more than 60 pounds must ride in a lap-shoulder belt.
For more information about child car seat, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Child Restraint Affidavit
If you have been convicted of violating a child safety law in Louisiana, you must provide the state with a Child Restraint Affidavit. This affidavit proves that you have purchased an appropriate child safety seat. The Louisiana DPS will notify you and give you 30 days to buy a car seat and submit the affidavit. The affidavit can be submitted through mail using the address listed on the notice that you received from The Louisiana Department of Public Safety. If you fail to submit the affidavit within the stated deadline, your driver’s license will be suspended by the DPS.
Child Seat Installation
It is not easy to install a child car seat. You are required to read the manufacturer’s guide on how to install the seat. You may also check the complete list of Louisiana Child Passenger Fitting Stations. This list is provided by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and you can access it on their official website. You may also find out where to get assistance from a child passenger safety technician. You may also use the NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator.
Cell Phone and Texting Laws
Drivers holding intermediate license or learner’s permits are banned from cell phone use while driving. If you are caught violating this law, you will face a fine of up to $175. Louisiana also bans all drivers from texting while driving regardless of age and driver’s license status.
School Zones and Cell Phone Use
It is illegal to use a cell phone for any reason if you are driving through a school zone during posted hours. However, there are some exceptions if:
- Your personal safety is at risk.
- You are legally parked.
- You need to report an emergency.
- You need to report or avert a criminal act.
- You operate an emergency vehicle.
If you are caught using a cell phone in a school zone while driving, you will be charged in a court of law. If you are found guilty, you will receive a fine of up to $175 for your first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.
Louisiana Seat Belt Laws
All drivers and passengers in Louisiana are required by law to wear seat belts. If you fail to do so, you will receive a ticket or fine. All children between 6 years old and 12 years old must be restrained by a shoulder harness, lap belt or an appropriate booster seat or child safety.
Louisiana Helmet Laws
- Motorcycles: All motorcycle riders and passengers must wear appropriate helmets while the motorcycle is in motion. This law also applies to motorized bicycles and motor-driven cycles.
- Bicycles: Louisiana has not got mandatory bicycle helmet laws except for children passengers or riders younger than 12 years old. If your child is less than 40 inches in height or weighs less than 40 pounds, he or she must ride in a properly secured restraint seat.
Motorcycle Equipment Laws
- All motorcycles must be fitted with a reflector.
- All motorcycles must be fitted with headlights which must be turned on during the day.
- All passenger motorcycles must be fitted with footrests.
Motorcycle Safety Courses
There are several benefits of successfully completing a Motorcycle Operator Training Course. This course offers information that you need to know about motorcycles. It also exempts you from taking the driving and written exams when applying for a motorcycle license with the DMV. For more information, check out the Motorcycle Operator Training Course Motorcycle Safety Foundation website.
Headlight Laws in Louisiana
You must turn on headlights:
- 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
- When visibility is reduced due to bad weather conditions.
- When you turn on windshield wipers.
Motorcycle Headlight Laws
The Louisiana law requires you to turn on motorcycle headlights during the day.
Bicycle Headlight Laws
Your bicycle must be fitted with a front side white headlight which must be turned on at night.
Louisiana Boating Laws
Be sure that your boat complies with equipment regulations, which includes water-skiing flags and appropriate navigational lighting, among others. All the items in the list below are inspected before you are allowed to boat your vessel.
Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
If your vessel is longer than 26 feet, the law requires minors younger than 16 years old to wear approved PFD. Make sure to select an appropriate personal flotation device for the water conditions that apply to you.
Personal Water Crafts (PWCs)
In Louisiana, it is illegal for children younger than 16 years old to operate a Personal Water Craft. Every person born after 1st January 1984 must successfully complete a boating education course.
Important PWC Laws in Louisiana
- Personal Water Craft passengers and riders must wear approved Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device.
- Anybody operating a Personal Water Craft that has been equipped with a lanyard-type ignition safety switch must attach the lanyard to his or her PFD.
- It is illegal to operate a personal watercraft at night.
- It is illegal to disturb, chase or harass water wildlife with your Personal Water Craft
Louisiana Boater Education Courses
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries offers classroom courses that equip you with boating knowledge and boating safety measures. If you successfully complete this course, you will receive a vessel operator’s certification card. The boater education courses provided by Boat-Ed.com and BoatUS.org have been approved by the Louisiana state.
Unattended Kids and Pets in Louisiana
In Louisiana, it is illegal to leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle at any given moment. If you are caught leaving a child or a pet unattended in a vehicle for the first time, you will face a fine of up to $500 or 6 months imprisonment or both. For subsequent offenses, you will face a fine of up to $5,000 or a jail time of no less than 1 year or both. If you suspect unattended child or pet in a car whose life is in danger, dial 911 immediately.