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Louisiana Driving and Traffic Laws

Drivers in the state of Louisiana need to be aware of the rules of the road in their state. Auto insurance requirements are only the beginning, but they are a logical place to start. Motorists can be punished for failing to comply with state auto insurance requirements. Other areas of particular interest as they pertain to driving and traffic laws in the state of LA include: drinking and driving, registration requirements and information on Louisiana's tort system for auto insurance law.

Drinking and Driving Regulations

In the state of Louisiana, driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is an infraction punishable by law. In general it is considered a misdemeanor, but repeated offenses can ratchet it up to felony status. Repeat offenders pay high fines and serve increasing time behind bars. Though certainly a serious offense to begin with, drunk driving is not a mistake you want to make twice.

According to Louisiana state law, a person is considered legally drunk if their blood alcohol level (BAC) measures at or above 0.08 percent. For drivers under the age of 21, that figure drops down to 0.02 percent. If an officer pulling over a driver has reason to believe the driver is intoxicated (or that an underage driver has been drinking at all), he or she has the right to ask the driver to submit to a chemical test. Failure to comply with this request, any reading above legal limits, or test results indicating the presence of any controlled dangerous substance can lead to the suspension of driving privileges among other consequences.

Drivers who have DUI or other alcohol related infractions on their driving record or any current or recent license suspensions will be hard pressed to find affordable auto insurance in Louisiana. For this reason, clear headed decision making regarding sobriety behind the wheel is essential. Drivers should never drink if they are going to be driving anywhere, and those who do consume alcohol should never get behind the wheel.

Louisiana Auto Registration

Auto registration is mandatory for any car or truck on the road in the state of Louisiana. This requirement is tied directly to auto insurance because proof of insurance is required at the time of registration. To register a vehicle you just bought or to renew annual registration, drivers must present valid proof of automobile insurance. And if a police officer ever asks for license and registration and a driver fails to produce proof of insurance, the car's license plates can be removed and the driver given three days notice to produce adequate proof of current auto insurance or the registration will be voided and the vehicle possibly impounded. Drivers who let their registration lapse must pay reinstatement fees and any other fines and towing bills before they can be reinstated [2].

LA is a Tort State

Different states have different methods by which they determine their auto insurance laws. These methods mainly vary based on the importance of the assignment of fault in an accident. In Louisiana, tort law is the standard. This means that in every car accident, fault must be assigned. Unlike some other systems, tort law requires that one driver be found fully liable for a crash. Under the tort system, the negligent driver in a collision (and by extension, that driver's insurance provider) is responsible for paying all costs associated with the accident. Both medical and property damages expenses are required of the liable driver, including any property damages other than those sustained by the other vehicle or vehicles.

Tort law is different from other ways of administering auto insurance at the state level in that it requires all the payments for car accidents to come from one driver. In theory, this is supposed to punish the negligent while saving the innocent driver from personal financial expenses. But things do not always work out that way in practice. For example, uninsured drivers involved in accidents are often unable to pay the expenses associated with these crashes. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is very important for Louisiana auto owners to consider because the alternative could be much more expensive.

There are numerous other traffic laws that have special significance to auto insurance consumers in the state of LA. It is good for any state driver to be well acquainted with these laws so you can make sure to remain in compliance with them. Regardless of the specific rule or provision, the immediate importance of compliance is financial. Keeping the law saves you from fines, legal fees, and increases in your auto insurance premiums. Take the time to become more familiar with Louisiana driving and traffic laws and put yourself in a better position to save money on your coverage.

[1] http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=88498 Retrieved 2010-03-04.

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