Proposal by lawmaker wants aggressive driving to become a crime in Louisiana

Local News

Aggressive driving — it’s something we’ve all either witnessed first hand, or experienced while traveling Louisiana roadways.

And now one Louisiana lawmaker is looking to make it a crime.
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Auto Vantage Auto Club: 

  • 66% of traffic fatalities in the country are caused by aggressive driving.
  • 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.

The law is being proposed by District 2 State Representative Sam Jenkins (D).

He tells News 10 he’s already received a ton of support behind the idea.

Violators will face penalties and possible jail time, if they commit a number of aggressive driving offenses on a single trip.

“House Bill 6 is an attempt to curb what we call aggressive driving,” said Jenkins.

You’ve definitely seen in on roadways not only in Louisiana but across the country.

“The outline of aggressive driving components seems to fit with what we are seeing to be problematic in the field,” said Lisa Freeman, Executive Director & Governor’s Representative, for the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Office.

“People going from lane to lane, driving in and out of traffic fast without using their turn signals, exceeding the speed limit,” said Trooper Thomas Gossen, with Louisiana State Police Troop I.

Jenkins is looking to do something about this growing trend.

The proposed bill would define aggressive driving, as when a person engages in a combination of those traffic offenses in a single trip.

“House Bill 6 is a misdemeanor offense, meaning there’s a fine of up to $500, or jail time of up to 6 months. You can receive probation, but you must complete a driver improvement program,” said State Rep. Jenkins.

News 10 spoke with a number of local drivers, to see how they feel about the proposed harsher penalties for aggressive driving.

“It (aggressive driving) can hurt innocent people, kids. Most of them don’t even watch out where they going so they aggressive with it. But if you want to stick the penalty, stick it. I disagree but I agree,” said Hedley Dixon, a Lafayette driver.

“I would hate to know that one bad day you’re ruined for life, but then again if you’re a habitual person doing these things, you’re making it tough for everyone else out there, so I think you should be made to pay a higher fine,” said Elsie Meaux, a Lafayette driver.

“So we’re hoping that positive feedback and energy will remain, and we’ll be able to save some lives here on our roadways, said State Rep. Jenkins.

In the proposed law, the offenders drivers license could also be suspended for 6 months, but the judge can issue a restrictive license if the person needs their car for work.

A second offense within 3 years would also carry even stiffer penalties.
The proposed bill has been pre-filed.

There could be some tweaks to the language of the proposed bill, as it still has to clear some hurdles.
Lawmakers could vote on the measure during the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session.

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