Moving To Louisiana: A Look At Traffic Laws And Automotive Policies That May Affect You

Moving to a new state is always exciting, but it also presents a bit of a challenge since the laws in your new state are bound to differ slightly from those in your old state. This is true of traffic and automotive-related laws, especially. If your next move will be to the state of Louisiana, here's a look at some traffic laws and automotive regulations that might affect you.

You must register your car within 30 days.

Some states give you a lot of leeway when it comes to changing your vehicle registration over, but Louisiana is not one of them. After moving to the state, you only have 30 days to re-register your vehicle in Louisiana -- otherwise you are assessed an extra fee.

The easiest way to register your vehicle is to take it to the DMV, along with your driver's license, its registration paperwork form your old state, proof of recent inspection, and proof of car insurance. You will have to fill out a registration application, which the DMV can provide for you during your visit.

You must change your license within 30 days.

In addition to changing over your registration, you must also change your driver's license over to a Louisiana license within 30 days of moving to the state. This has to be done in person, and in order to make the change, you need to have your social security number, proof of auto insurance, your current license, and a second form of identification. 

The DMV will have you take a vision test before giving you your license, so make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up-to-date before you visit.

You can make calls on your phone while driving, but you cannot text.

Talking on your cell phone is not illegal in Louisiana (except for drivers with only a learner's permit.) However, you are not permitted to text or use your device for any purpose other than talking while you are driving. Reading text messages is also banned. There are hefty fines assessed for breaking this law. First-time offenders are fined $500, and you can be fined up to $1000 for repeat offenses. 

In Louisiana, there are also specific laws governing the use of cell phones in school areas. If you are driving through a school zone, you cannot talk on the phone, text, or use social networking services. The only exception to this is if you are calling 911 to report an emergency. These laws exist to protect youth, and they are strictly enforced throughout the state.

You must wear a seat belt.

All drivers and passengers in a car have to wear seat belts whenever the car is in motion. This applies whether you are in the back seat or the front seat. Children must be properly restrained in car seats.

Motorcycle riders must wear helmets.

There has been an increase in the number of states with helmet laws. Though Louisiana used to be a state with fewer restrictions on riders, motorcycle drivers are not required to wear appropriate helmets with lining, padding, visors, and chin straps. The state also requires headlight use on motorcycles during the daytime. 

Riders of non-motorized bicycles, however, are not required to wear helmets. The exception is children under 12, who must wear helmets when riding bikes.  Bikes must be fitted with headlights if ridden after dark.

If you keep the traffic laws and regulations above in mind, you should have an easier time transitioning to life in your new state of Louisiana. If you have any additional worries, call the local DMV; they should be able to address your concerns.