Louisiana approves vision waiver to drive intrastate

| Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Louisiana truck drivers with reduced vision can now haul non-hazardous loads within the state. Two more new laws address road safety issues.

Touted as a “jobs bill,” a new Louisiana law brings the state closer in line with federal rules on driving truck with limited vision. It took effect Monday, Aug. 15.

Louisiana is one of about 25 states to make the exception for prospective truck drivers.

Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, said the new rule allows a person with reduced vision in one eye to drive a truck in very limited conditions.

Specifically, the rule mandates that a driver have a minimum of 20/40 vision in at least one eye with or without a corrective lens. The driver must also be able to distinguish traffic signal colors, have a 70-degree field of vision in one direction and 35 degrees in other directions, as well as two years commercial driving experience within the past five years.

Also included is a requirement for applicants to file with the state a medical evaluation every six months if the visual impairment is a progressive disorder.

Two more new laws cover road safety concerns. The first law allows automobile dealers to sell vehicles with a front-seat “split-screen” that allows passengers to watch DVDs while the driver is unable to see the screen other than to view a navigational system. Until now, the sale of such vehicles had been prohibited in Louisiana. About 40 states permit the technology to be included in new vehicles.

Another new law prohibits vehicle owners who install aftermarket high-intensity headlights from getting an inspection sticker. It also carries a $50 fine for drivers caught using the lights.

Supporters said the high-intensity lights are not in sync with the vehicle’s electrical system and give off light that might be 800 percent brighter than normal headlamps.

Also forbidden in the new law are high-intensity fog lamps, tail-lights, signal lights or reflectors.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Louisiana, click here.
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