Getting a Driver's License
Driving is a privilege, not a right! You must earn that privilege and work to keep it. Your driver’s license carries with it a great responsibility to be courteous to other drivers on the roadways and to follow state and federal motoring laws. There are many laws that govern a driver’s responsibility. You must become familiar with these laws and obey and respect them to keep your license.
Who Must Have a Driver's License?
You must have a Louisiana driver’s license if you are a resident of Louisiana and want to drive a motor vehicle on public streets and highways. Always carry your license with you when driving. You are required to show your license to any law enforcement officer or any officer who may ask to see it. New residents have 30 days from the time residency is established to obtain a Louisiana license.
Your driver’s license will expire six years from your nearest birthday. Licenses may be renewed anytime within 180 days before the expiration date. You must pass the vision exam before your license is renewed. Once your license is issued, please verify your information is correct before leaving. If you do not receive a mail-in renewal invitation, you must visit the local office for renewal issuance.
Traffic Laws and Regulations - SPEED
Speed limit signs are based on traffic congestion, intersections, and roadway conditions, are designed for the safety of all drivers and roadway users and should be followed carefully. You may be cited for traveling too fast for conditions when above the legal limitations. Remember that speed limits are posted for ideal conditions. Use good judgment to determine the safest speed for the driving conditions.
Louisiana Child Passenger Restraint Law
Louisiana Child Passenger Restraint law requires that all children must be properly restrained and secured in an age- or size-appropriate passenger restraint system. The law requiring safety seat belts for children is as follows:
- A child 13 years or younger may not be transported in the front seat of a vehicle with an active airbag.
- Birth up to 2 years - rear facing, federally approved car seat.
- At least 2 years and has outgrown the rear facing seat by height or weight - forward facing, federally approved car seat.
- 4 and has outgrown the forward facing seat by height or weight – belt positioning child booster seat using lap and shoulder restraints.
- 9 years or has outgrown the booster seat and can pass the 5 Step Test - ride restrained in the rear seat with a lap and shoulder belt.
Driving at Night
Driving at night can be made safest if you follow these rules:
- Keep your windshield and windows clean, inside and out.
- Be certain that all lights on the vehicles are operating properly.
- Reduce your speed so that you can stop within the distance you can see ahead.
- Use lower beam when approaching other cars so you won’t blind the other driver.
- If a stubborn driver refuses to dim the lights, look to the right edge of the road as a guide and slow down.
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him from the primary and complicated task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Drivers are frequently distracted, perhaps as much as half the time. Three main types of distraction:
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road to look at something else
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel to do something (i.e., adjusting the radio)
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing While all distractions can endanger a driver’s safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.
Distracted Driving - Cell Phones
The increased use of cell phones while driving is becoming a hazard on our highways. Drivers who use their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle pose a serious threat to themselves and other drivers.
- Use your cell phone only in emergencies. If possible, have a passenger make the call.
- If you must make a call, pull safely off the road and stop before making the call.
- Let your voice mail answer incoming calls.
- Get a model with voice-activated controls and hands-free operation.
Right of Way
Left turns - the driver making a left turn must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic, including bicyclists. You must yield the right-of-way:
- To emergency vehicles that are sounding a siren and flashing warning lights. Pull over to the right edge of the roadway clear of intersections and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Watch for other emergency vehicles. This applies to traffic in both directions.
- To pedestrians crossing the roadway on which you are driving (marked or unmarked crosswalks)
- At “T” intersections where you must yield to vehicles on the through road.
Actions Associated With Road Rage
- Blowing the horn
- Flashing headlights
- Pursuing another vehicle
- Forcing a car off the road
- Forcing a car to pull over
- Verbal abuse or “sign” language
- Bumping into another car
- Threatening another driver
- Braking or slowing suddenly
- Cutting off or swerving in front of another
If you witness road rage, contact law enforcement as soon as possible!
Driving Under the Influence
BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION- BAC describes the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood expressed as weight per unit of volume. For example, at 0.10% BAC, there is a concentration of 100 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. For most legal purposes, however, a blood sample is not necessary to determine a person’s BAC. It can be measured much more simply by analyzing exhaled breath (such as using a breathalyzer). In Louisiana the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration is:
- .04 if you are operating a commercial motor vehicle
- .08 if you are 21 years of age or older
- .02 if you are 20 years of age and younger
Driving Under the Influence
DRUGS- Driving while/or after using drugs (e.g., amphetamines, tranquilizers and barbiturates) can be hazardous (and possibly lethal) because of drowsiness, reduced coordination and poor judgment or risk taking. It can take hours to wear off, and if the drugs are combined with alcohol, the effects can be exaggerated and increased dramatically. Louisiana law provides the same penalty for driving under the influence of drugs as it does for alcohol. This includes over-the-counter (OTC) and prescribed medication. It is important to pay attention to the labels on medications as they may interfere with your driving ability.
LOSING YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES
The following is a partial list of various violations for which your driving privileges may be suspended:
- Conviction of driving while intoxicated (DWI).
- Failure to stop for a school bus loading or unloading children.
- Manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
- Any felony committed while operating a motor vehicle.
- Failure to stop and render assistance at an accident, in which you were involved, that results in the injury or death of a person.
- Three convictions of reckless driving committed within a 12 month period.
- Unlawful use of a driver’s license.
- Failure to answer a traffic law charge.
- Driving in violation of a driver’s license restriction