New bill would create crime of aggressive driving in Louisiana

Louisiana
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BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB) – A new bill filed in the Louisiana House of Representatives by Rep. Samuel Jenkins (D-Dist. 2), who represents Bossier and Caddo Parishes, would make it a crime to drive aggressively.

House Bill 6 would define the crime of aggressive driving if a person “during a single and continuous period of driving upon any public roadway or right of way” commits three or more of the following acts:

1. Exceeding the posted speed limit.

2. Violating the maximum speed limit or the general speed law.

3. Failing to obey traffic control signals or devices.

4. Overtaking and passing another vehicle on the right by driving off the pavement or main traveled portion of the roadway.

5. Engaging in unsafe lane changes.

6. Following too closely.

7. Failing to yield the right of way.

8. Failing to drive within a marked lane of traffic.

9. Failing to yield to approaching traffic when approaching or entering an intersection.

10. Failing to signal when turning or stopping.

11. Failing to stop at stop signs or yield at yield signs.

12. Overtaking and passing a school bus when visual signals are in operation on the school bus.

Any person convicted of the offense shall either be fined not more than $500, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both. In addition, the court shall require the offender to participate in a court-approved driver improvement program.

For a second or subsequent offense, the person should be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than one year, or both. A court-approved driver improvement program will also be required. A prior conviction shall not include a conviction for this offense “if the date of completion of sentence, probation, parole, or suspension of sentence for that offense is more than three years prior.”

Upon conviction, a plea of “guilty” or “no contest,” the driver’s license of the person will be suspended for six months.

If a police officer spots aggressive driving, instead of an arrest, he or she can issue a summons if the officer believes the person will appear in court, if the officer believes that the person will not cause injury to himself or another, if the officer believes the person will not cause damage to property, of if the officer believes the person will not immediately continue the same offense.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice. A copy of the bill is attached to this page.

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