Starting August 1st, a number of new laws and amendments passed during the last legislative session affecting motorists all over Louisiana. Here are a few of the notable changes:

1) School Zone Cell Phone Ban. Motorists are now prohibited from using any type of hand held wireless communications device while traveling through schools zones during posted hours. The school zone cell phone ban does not apply if the device is being used to report an emergency, is being used in a hands-free manner, or while the vehicle is lawfully parked.

2) Litter Law Updates. Amendments to the LA litter law now specifically include cigarettes and cigarette butts to the official definition of litter. Fines also increase, including a first offense increase to $300 with 8 hours of community service in a litter abatement program.

3) Six Year Driver's License Renewal. The renewal period for Louisiana driver's licenses has been extended from four years to six years with a fee increase to cover the extension of the renewal period. Fee increases vary by class of license, area of residence, and age of license applicant.

4) Inspection Exemptions For Certain Trailers. New amendments to inspection sticker requirements exempt single axle two-wheeled trailers and boat trailers from state inspection requirements and the obligation to bear a valid safety inspection sticker. These trailers must still possess the required safety equipment to operate on state roadways.

5) Vehicle Inspections Can Be Conducted In the Rain. An amendment added to the inspection sticker requirements changes an old requirement that vehicle inspections stations could not inspect vehicles on rainy days. This new amendment allows vehicles to be inspected when it is raining if the conditions are safe and the vehicle can accurately be checked.

6) Increased Penalties For 'Fatigued' Drivers Involved In Fatal Crashes. Motorists who fail to maintain control of their vehicle due to falling asleep and directly cause the death of a human being, face increased punishment. Motorists involved in a fatality crash may also be charged with negligent homicide.

7) Vehicular Homicide Clasified as a Crime of Violence. The act of causing the death of a person due to a crash where the driver was impaired will now be classified as a crime of violence when the offender's blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.20 grams percent. The new law also allows for increased penalties for impaired drivers involved in fatality crashes.

To go to the official Louisiana legislative website and read these laws and amendments in their complete form, JUST CLICK HERE!