7 Louisiana Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Many Louisiana motorists neglect important traffic laws such as slower drivers keeping right and yielding the right-of-way.

As a driver in Louisiana, it’s important to be aware of the state’s traffic laws and regulations. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore some of the state’s most important traffic laws, putting themselves and others at risk.

This article reviews seven of the most commonly ignored traffic laws in Louisiana. If you’re unfamiliar with these laws, please be sure to read them carefully and obey them while driving.

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1. Louisiana Slower Traffic Keep Right Law: The “Move Over” Rule

On Louisiana multilane highways, you cannot drive in the left lane unless you are passing or turning left. You can also travel in the left lane when traffic backs up in the right lane. When in the left lane, you must go faster than the vehicles to your right. You must also be sure not to impede those behind you with your speed.

When moving slower than the regular speed of traffic or more than 10 mph less than the speed limit, you must keep right. You can leave the right lane to pass or turn left.

No vehicle shall be driven in the left-hand lane except when directed otherwise, preparing for a left turn, overtaking or passing another vehicle, or when right-hand lanes are congested. No vehicle being driven in the left lane except when directed otherwise or preparing for a left turn shall impede any other vehicle that is traveling in the same lane and behind that vehicle.

No vehicle traveling in the left-hand lane shall be driven at a speed slower than any vehicle traveling to its right on the same roadway. Any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic except when preparing for a left turn, or passing or overtaking a vehicle.

Any vehicle proceeding on a multilane highway at a speed slower than ten miles per hour less than the posted maximum speed limit shall be driven in the right hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing a vehicle or when preparing for a left turn.

LA Code § 32-71

2. Louisiana Flow of Traffic Law: The “Minimum Speed” Rule

Louisiana traffic laws forbid driving so slowly that you interfere with normal traffic flow. However, an exception exists for situations where a “special hazard” forces you to move slower. So you’ll be okay if your car starts to malfunction or weather conditions make it unsafe to go faster.

Except when a special hazard exists that requires lower speed, no person shall operate or drive a motor vehicle upon the highways of this state at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

LA Code § 32-64

3. Louisiana Driving in Left Lane Law: The “Passing on the Left” Rule

In Louisiana, you generally must pass other vehicles on their left. Be sure to keep a safe distance and avoid cutting off the other driver when returning to the right lane.

To pass on a two-lane highway, you must wait for a break in oncoming traffic. The left side must be clear enough for you to pass without coming within 100 feet of approaching vehicles.

When another vehicle passes you, you must give them the right-of-way. You also cannot speed up until the other driver completes the pass.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal, and shall not increase the speed of his vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

LA Code § 32-73

No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the highway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken.

In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to the right-hand side of the roadway before coming within one hundred feet of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

LA Code § 32-75

4. Louisiana Rear-End Collision Law: The “Following Too Closely” Rule

The Louisiana traffic code prohibits following another driver more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” In other words, no tailgating. Consider your speed, as well as road and traffic conditions, when determining the distance you must leave between vehicles.

The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

LA Code § 32-81

5. Louisiana Mobile Phone Driving Law: The “Hands-Free Driving” Rule

First-time drivers in Louisiana cannot use a cell phone at all for the first year they have their license. This rule applies no matter how old you are.

After this period ends, you still cannot use your mobile phone to text, email, or use social media. The law also prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a mobile phone to make calls.

Exceptions to all these rules exist for certain emergency situations.

Except in a driver emergency, any person, regardless of age, issued a first driver’s license from this state shall be prohibited from using a cellular telephone for any purpose while operating a motor vehicle for a period of one year.

LA Code § 32-289.1

No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.

No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to access, read, or post to a social networking site.

The provisions shall not apply to an operator of a moving motor vehicle using a wireless telecommunications device to report illegal activitym summon medical or other emergency help, prevent injury to a person or property, or navigate using a global positioning system.

LA Code § 32-300.5

No person who is seventeen years of age or younger shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway in this state while using any wireless telecommunications device to engage in a call or write, send or read a text-based communication.

The provisions shall not apply to a person who uses a wireless telecommunications device to report a traffic crash, medical emergency, or serious road hazard, report a situation in which the person believes his personal safety is in jeopardy, or report or avert the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act.

LA Code § 32-300.7

6. Louisiana Four-Way Intersection Law: The “4-Way Stop” Rule

If two drivers arrive at a Louisiana intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first. The law requires the driver on the left to yield the right-of-way and wait.

When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left, shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.

LA Code § 32-121

7. Louisiana Left Turn Intersection Law: The “Right of Way” Rule

When making a left turn in Louisiana, you must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. If a driver going the other direction could hit you when turning, you must let them pass before you turn.

The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

LA Code § 32-122

Traffic laws are in place for a reason. While it may be tempting to ignore them, doing so can result in fines, points on your license, and auto accidents. The next time you are on the road, be sure to obey all traffic laws.

If you need a refresher course, take some time to read up on the traffic laws specific to Louisiana. You should always play it safe and follow the law.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>