In Louisiana, texting while driving is illegal, but traffic officers attempting to issue a citation to drivers who look to be engaging in the act have come across a roadblock: many an offender will claim that they weren’t texting at all. Instead, they argue that they were logged on to social media to send a message on something like Instagram or Facebook.
When the texting ban was passed, it made no mention of social media. Lawmakers hope to circumvent this potential shortfall in the law with a proposed bill that would outlaw social media usage in the same way that text messaging has been banned.
The new measure was introduced by a member of the State Senate, and yesterday, the bill garnered the unanimous approval of the Senate Transportation Committee. Now the committee has given the go-ahead to the matter, the entire Senate will take up the bill. Should the law eventually reach passage, social media usage at the wheel would entail a $175 fine, but that number increases to a whopping $500 if a driver is cited more than once.
It was actually officers reporting problems with enforcement in the city of Walker who prompted a reconsideration of the distracted driving bill. The bill’s sponsor argues that social media is inherently more dangerous than texting would be.