10 things to know about changes to Louisiana laws that effect you

Allison B. Hudson

The 2010 Legislative Session addressed several issues that affect all residents of Louisiana. Some of the laws went into effect last Sunday, August 15. Please be aware of these laws.

  1. ACT 203- Effective August 15; text messaging and using a wireless device while driving is a primary offense for all drivers in Louisiana. This law also prohibits anyone under the age of 17 to operate a vehicle while using a cellular device. Officers in the state may initiate traffic stops to enforce this law.
  2. ACT 813- Effective August 15; anyone riding a bicycle upon a roadway with improved shoulder, the option of riding on that improved shoulder rather than in the lane of travel. Every bicycle must be equipped with a rear lamp that emits a red flashing light, or a sufficient red light.
  3. ACT 618- Driver’s education courses across Louisiana now require those courses to include information on sharing the road with pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit vehicles.
  4. ACT 506- Effective August 15, all drug free zones have been expanded from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet from designated properties.
  5. ACT 925- Effective August 15; prohibits carrying a concealed handgun on any school, school property, or school bus, and authorities concealed handgun permit holders to carry a concealed handgun within 1,000 feet of school property.
  6. ACT 516- Effective August 15; redefines the crime of pornography involving juveniles. This law makes the practice of “sexting” pornographic images of juveniles a crime.
  7. ACT 810&565- Effective August 15; now makes synthetic cannabinoids an illegal substance and lists them as a Schedule I drug.
  8. ACT 989- Effective August 15; 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.
  9. ACT 1039- Effective January 1, 2011; a minor can increase the time spent behind the wheel to 50 hours of training with a learner’s permit, which 15 of those hours will include nighttime driving. 
  10. These laws are serious and it is important for everyone to be aware of these laws. Additional laws can be viewed at www.legis.state.la.us