LEGAL CORNER - Can I smoke with my child in the car?

VIDEO: LEGAL CORNER - Can I smoke with my kids in the car?

QUESTION: I have a friend who was recently ticketed for driving and talking on the phone. I told her to get some headphones or a Bluetooth device like everyone else and she said the officer told her that was illegal also? Is this true?

ANSWER: Yes and no. Certain Bluetooth devices are legal if they do not go in both ears. The officer was correct by telling your friend that headphones are illegal because under the law, wearing of a headset, headphone, or listening device other than a hearing aid or some other hearing device which either covers both ears or which is inserted into both ears by any operator of a motor vehicle is hereby prohibited. Any headset, headphone, or other listening device which covers or which is inserted into only ONE ear may be used at any time. THE LAW: Louisiana Legislature Civil Code LA Rev Stat § 32:295.2 Wearing of headphones; prohibitions; exceptions (A.) The wearing of headphones by any operator of a motor vehicle is hereby prohibited. For purposes of this Section, “headphones” shall mean a headset, headphone, or listening device other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing which covers both ears or which is inserted into both ears. Any headset, headphone, or other listening device which covers or which is inserted into only one ear may be used at any time. (B.) The provisions of this Section shall not apply to: (1) Any law enforcement officer or emergency vehicle operator equipped with any communication device necessary in performing his assigned duties. (2) Any person operating a motorcycle who is using a headset that is installed in a helmet and worn so as to prevent the speakers from making direct contact with the user’s ears so that the user can hear surrounding sounds. (C.) The Department of Public Safety and Corrections, office of motor vehicles, shall adopt rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to establish standards and specifications for headset equipment, the use of which is permitted under this Section. The department shall inspect and review all such devices submitted to it and shall publish a list by name and type of approved equipment. (D.) No vehicle, contents of a vehicle, or driver in a vehicle shall be inspected, stopped, detained, or searched solely because of a violation of or to determine compliance with this Section. (E.) The operation of a vehicle in violation of the provisions of this Section shall not be considered a moving violation as provided for under the provisions of Title 32 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.

QUESTION: I am beginning to put up decorations for Christmas in a local park and was curious. Is there is a minimum speed limit within the parks for people who come to look at the lights? Is there a minimum speed for those on the roads and highways?

ANSWER: The minimum speed law or “blanket speed” for any parish park in Calcasieu is ten (10) mph on all roads located within parish parks. However, no person shall operate a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. A person who is operating a motor vehicle on a multilane highway at a speed slower than 10 mph of the posted speed limit shall drive in the right-hand lane. Often, when traveling, you will see a someone driving in the passing lane making it impossible for others to pass and sometimes result in road rage by frustrated drivers. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections, office of motor vehicles, has been directed to include a summary of these laws in any instructional publication for drivers. Persons in violation are to be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both. These fines rarely, if ever, are imposed.

THE LAW: Calcasieu Parish Code of Ordinances Sec. 20-11.- Blanket speed limit in all parish parks and R.S.32§71. Driving on right side of road; exceptions

A. Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:

(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement, including passing lanes;

(2) When the right half of a roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair;

(3) Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.

B.(1)(a) Upon all multilane highways, no vehicle shall be driven in the left-hand lane except when directed otherwise, preparing for a left turn at an intersection or private road or driveway, overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or when right-hand lanes are congested; however, no vehicle being driven in the left lane except when directed

otherwise or preparing for a left turn at an intersection, private road, or driveway shall impede any other vehicle that is traveling in the same lane and behind that vehicle.

(b) Upon all multilane highways, 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.

(c) Upon all multilane highways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the circumstances then existing, shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic except when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway, or passing or overtaking a vehicle proceeding in the same direction, if passing on the left side of it. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize driving any vehicle in the left lane so as to prohibit, impede, or block passage of an overtaking vehicle in such lane and in such event the vehicle in the left lane prohibiting, impeding, or blocking passage of an overtaking vehicle shall expeditiously merge into the right lane of traffic.

(d) The provisions of this Subsection shall not apply during a declared state of emergency when contraflow has been activated.

(2) In addition to the requirement of Paragraph 1 hereof, 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 proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. Persons in violation of this Paragraph shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both.

C. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections, office of motor vehicles, is directed to include a summary of this Section in any instructional publication for drivers.

D. The Department of Transportation and Development is directed to place signs on multilane highways, in an effort to make motorists aware of the provisions provided for in this Section.

E. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and the Department of Transportation and Development are directed to cooperatively develop and engage a public awareness campaign to notify motorists of the provisions of this Section.

QUESTION: I would like to know if I can smoke in my own vehicle if I have my child is with me? Is my vehicle considered an extension of my home?

ANSWER: It is unlawful for the operator or any passenger in a motor vehicle to smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars in a motor vehicle, passenger van, or pick-up truck, when a child who is required to be restrained in a child safety seat, a booster seat, or a motor vehicle’s safety belt is also present in the vehicle, regardless of whether windows of the are down. Whoever violates this law shall be fined one hundred fifty dollars per offense, or at the discretion of the judge, may be sentenced to no less than twenty-four hours of community service.

THE LAW: LA Rev Stat § 32:300.4 Smoking in motor vehicles prohibited; penalties (A.) It shall be unlawful for the operator or any passenger in a motor vehicle to smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars in a motor vehicle, passenger van, or pick-up truck, when a child who is required to be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat, a forward-facing child safety

seat, a booster seat, or a motor vehicle's safety belt as required in R.S. 32:295 is also present in such vehicle, regardless of whether windows of the motor vehicle are down. For purposes of this Section, the term "smoke" shall mean inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, weed, plant, or other combustible substance in any manner or in any form.

B. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined one hundred fifty dollars per offense, or at the discretion of the judge, may be sentenced to no less than twenty-four hours of community service.

C. Probable cause for a violation of this Section shall be based solely upon a law enforcement officer's clear and unobstructed view of a person smoking as prohibited by this Section. Violation of this Section shall be considered a primary offense, and any law enforcement officer may stop a motor vehicle solely because of a violation of this Section; however, a law enforcement officer may not search or inspect a motor vehicle, its contents, the driver, or a passenger solely because of a violation of this Section.

D. A violation of this Section shall be considered a nonmoving violation, and a citation issued by a law enforcement officer for such violation shall not be included on the driver’s operating record.

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