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Louisiana New Resident Guide

Welcome to Louisiana! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Louisiana. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements



  • New residents are required to transfer their out of state license to Louisiana within 30 days of establishing a residence in this state.
  • As a new Louisiana resident, you are required to transfer your out-of-state registration to Louisiana within 30 days.
  • Louisiana law requires that you notify the Motor Vehicle Office within 10 days any time your address changes.


Graduated Licensing Program



Learner's Permit

Requirements

  • Must have completed 38 hour state approved driver education
  • Must pass driving knowledge test and vision test
  • Must be at least 15

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May only drive accompanied by a licensed driver over age 21
  • May not use a wireless communication device while driving

Intermediate License

Requirements

  • Must have held permit for at least 6 months
  • Must have accumulated 50 hours of certified driving time, 15 of which must be at night
  • Must pass road test
  • Must be age 16 or older

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May not drive unsupervised between 11 PM and 5 AM
  • May not drive with more than one non-family passenger under age 21 between 6 PM and 5 AM
  • A supervising adult must be a parent, guardian, or be at least 21 years old and have a valid license
  • May not use a wireless communication device while driving

Unrestricted License

Requirements

  • Must have held intermediate license for at least 12 months
  • Must be at least age 17

Privileges and Restrictions

  • If under 18 or a first-year driver, may not use a wireless communication device while driving


Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.



Louisiana does not have a point system, but traffic violations are still recorded on your driving record.



Insurance Requirements



The minimum requirements for auto insurance in Louisiana are 15/30/25. That is, in a single accident, the limits are:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury to one person;
  • $30,000 total for bodily injury;
  • $25,000 for property damage.


Headlight Laws



You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 200 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • Between sunset and sunrise.
  • When moisture in the air or precipitation necessitates the use of windshield wipers and when weather conditions are unfavorable.

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.



Implied Consent Laws



Criminal

Not less than 10 days or more than 6 months and not less than $300 or more than $1,000.

Administrative

  • Persons over 21 with no fatality or serious injury
    • First refusal- Suspension 1 year (90 days mandatory)
    • Second or subsequent refusal (within 5 years) - Suspension 2 years
  • Any refusal related to either a fatality or serious bodily injury(where the trier of fact determines intoxication to be a contributing factor):
    • First refusal - Suspension 1 year (mandatory)
    • Second refusal - Suspension 2 years (mandatory)
  • Refusal by Persons Under 21
    • Suspension 180 days (90 days mandatory)


DUI Penalties



First Conviction

  • 10 days - 6 months imprisonment
  • $300 - $1,000 fine
  • Four 8-hour days of community service may be ordered
  • Up to 12 month license suspension
  • Alcohol education and treatment

Second Conviction

  • 30 days - 6 months imprisonment
  • $750 - $1,000 fine
  • 308-hour days of community service may be ordered
  • 12 - 24 month license suspension
  • Alcohol education and treatment

Third Conviction

  • 1 year - 5 years imprisonment
  • $2,000 fine
  • Any offender placed on probation shall perform 30 8-hours days of community service
  • 24 - 36 months license suspension
  • Alcohol treatment

Fourth or Subsequent Conviction

  • 10 years - 30 years imprisonment
  • $5,000 fine
  • Alcohol treatment

Child Endangerment (passenger 12 or younger)

  • First offense - 10 days
  • Second offense - 30 days
  • Third offense - 1 year without suspension

Ignition Interlock

Restricted license may be granted during the suspension period under some circumstances so long as an ignition interlock device is installed and operative.



Open Container Law



Louisiana's open container law applies only to drivers and includes exceptions for:

  • Any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains a frozen alcoholic beverage unless the lid is removed, a straw protrudes therefrom, or the contents of the receptacle have been partially removed
  • Any person operating or occupying a motor vehicle who is required to carry an open alcoholic beverage as a condition of and while acting in the course of employment, provided the person does not consume the beverages.


Red Light Violation Fines



  • $297.00 fine.
  • State law provides that convictions resulting from camera enforcement shall not be reported for inclusion in driver record; law is silent on other issues relating to camera enforcement.


Construction Zone Penalties



Speeding violations when workers are present are subject to two times the original fine.



Turn Signal Information



Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance. A greater distance is suggested when driving at faster speeds or in heavy traffic.



Hazard Light Information



Hazard light use is permitted for the purpose of warning other drivers of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.



Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws



  • Except for an authorized emergency or law enforcement vehicle making use of audible or visual signals, or when directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer, pedestrians and operators of all motor vehicles shall yield the right-of-way to each vehicle participating in a funeral procession.
  • If the procession has a police escort, whenever the lead vehicle in a funeral procession lawfully enters an intersection, the remainder of the vehicles in the procession may continue to follow through the intersection notwithstanding any signals from traffic control devices.
  • The operator of a motor vehicle may pass a funeral procession which is traveling in the right lane of a divided highway, multiple-lane highway, or interstate.


School Bus Laws



Requirements

  • Vehicles are required to stop unless the bus is on the opposite roadway of a divided highway.
  • Vehicles must stop at least 30 feet from the school bus.

Penalties

  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a $100 - $500 fine, up to 6 months imprisonment, or both. In addition, your driver's license will be suspended for 30 days.


Bicyclist Passing Distance



A 3-foot minimum passing distance is required.



Motorcycle Laws



Licensing

  • There is no separate class of driver's license for motorcycle riders.
  • To operate a motorcycle, a person must obtain an endorsement to his or her regular driver's license. An endorsement can be obtained by passing an operation skills test and a knowledge test. An operation skills test does not have to be taken if the applicant successfully completed the Department-approved Motorcycle Safety, Awareness, and Operation Training Program.
  • Children: No operator shall carry or transport a child on a motorcycle who is required to be restrained in a rear-facing or forward-facing child safety seat. Children may be a passenger on a motorcycle only if he or she is over the age of 5 and is wearing a safety helmet.

Protective Gear

  • All motorcycle riders must wear a properly equipped safety helmet.
  • All motorcycle operators must wear protective eye gear, unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield of sufficient height to protect the operator's eyes.

Headlights

  • Daytime use of headlight not required.

Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.


Using the Shoulder to Pass



You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.



Passing Laws



Do not pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

When being passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.


Speed Limits



  • 70 mph on interstate and controlled access highways;
  • 65 mph on other multi-lane divided highways which have partial or no control of access;
  • 55 mph on other highways.


Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws



Safety Belts

  • Occupants 13 and older must use a safety belt.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense in Orleans Parish is $45. The fine for a first offense elsewhere is $25.

Child Seats

  • Children who are younger than 1 year or less than 20 pounds must be in a child safety seat.
  • Children who are 1 - 3 years or 20 - 39 pounds must be in a forward-facing child safety seat.
  • Children who are 4 - 5 years or 40 - 60 pounds must be in a child booster seat
  • Children who are 6 - 12 or greater than 60 pounds must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $100.


Emergency Vehicle Laws



Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • If on a highway with 2 or more lanes traveling in the same direction and it is safe to do so, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the vehicle. If a lane change is not possible, slow to a reasonably safe speed.
    • If unable or unsafe to change lanes, or you are driving on a two-lane road or highway, reduce the speed of the vehicle and maintain a safe speed for road conditions.

Following

  • Do not follow any emergency vehicle traveling in response to an official call of duty closer than 500 feet, or drive into or park within 500 feet of where the emergency vehicle has stopped in answer to an official call.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene of the accident.
  • Provide reasonable assistance.
  • Call police immediately if necessary
    • Notify the nearest police department, sheriff's office, or state police station immediately if the accident has resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $500 or more.
    • If the driver is unable to make the report, any other occupant of the vehicle who is able to must do so.
  • You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Name and address of driver
    • Registration number of vehicle
    • Show driver's license upon request
    • Name of liability insurance carrier, and contact information for insurance agent
  • If the crash resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $100 or more, you must report the accident within 24 hours to the local police department, county sheriff, or state patrol.


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