BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Motorists in Louisiana will have to add tweets and Facebook updates to the list of activities banned while driving, along with texting.
A bill prohibiting posting to social media sites while driving gained final approval with a 34-1 Senate vote Tuesday. It now heads to Gov. Bobby Jindal's desk.
Violators will face a traffic fine of up to $175 for the first offense and up to $500 for second and subsequent violations.
The bill by Sen. Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, closes what he called a loophole by adding accessing, reading and posting to social media sites, such as the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Erdey has said the impetus for the bill came from law enforcement officials in the city of Walker who reported stopping drivers who looked to be texting. After being pulled over, the drivers said they were not texting — they were posting to Facebook or Instagram.
During committee hearings, Erdey cited a statistic he said came from a 2009 Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study on the high risk of distracted driving.
"Sending or receiving a text takes the driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds," he said. "That's equivalent at 55 mph of driving the length of an entire football field basically blind. Social networking is taking more time."
His bill sailed through the Legislature with little opposition.