Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation
Chapter 1. Louisiana Highway Regulatory Act
Part I. Definitions and General Authority
When used in this Chapter, the following words and phrases have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) “Authorized emergency vehicle” means a vehicle of a fire department, a vehicle of the weights and standards police force, a police vehicle or bicycle, a privately owned vehicle belonging to members of an organized volunteer fire department or fire district when so designated or authorized by the fire chief of that fire department or fire district, an industrial-owned vehicle assigned to members of a fire department or fire district when so designated or authorized by the fire chief of that fire department or fire district, a vehicle parked or stopped by elevator repair or construction personnel while responding to an elevator emergency, such ambulances and emergency medical response vehicles certified by the Louisiana Department of Health that are operated by certified ambulance services, and emergency vehicles of municipal departments or public service corporations as are designated or authorized by the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development or by the chief of police of any incorporated municipality. For purposes of this Section, elevator repair shall be limited to those elevators that move people.
(1.1)(a) “Autocycle” means a three-wheeled motorcycle on which the driver and all passengers ride in either a completely enclosed seating area or in a side-by-side seating area that is equipped with a rollbar or roll cage, safety belts for all occupants, and is designed to be controlled with a steering wheel and pedals.
(b) For purposes of this Paragraph, “rollbar” or “roll cage” shall mean supports that will bear the vehicle’s weight and are so designed as to protect the occupants when the vehicle is resting on the supports.
(1.2)(a) “Autonomous technology” means technology installed on a motor vehicle that has the capability to drive the vehicle on which the technology is installed in high-or full-automation mode, without any supervision by a human operator, with specific driving mode performance by the automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task that can be managed by a human driver, including the ability to automatically bring the motor vehicle into a minimal-risk condition in the event of a critical vehicle or system failure, or other emergency event.
(b) For purposes of this Paragraph, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this Subparagraph:
(i) “Driving mode” means a type of driving scenario with characteristic dynamic driving task requirements including but not limited to expressway merging, high-speed cruising, low-speed traffic jam, or closed-campus operations.
(ii) “Dynamic driving task” means the operational and tactical aspects of the driving task, but not the strategic aspect of the driving task.
(iii) “Operational” means steering, braking, accelerating, or monitoring the vehicle and roadway.
(iv) “Strategic” means determining destinations and waypoints.
(v) “Tactical” means and includes but is not limited to responding to events or determining when to change lanes, turn, or use signals.
(2) “Axle” means the common axis of rotation of one or more wheels whether power-driven or freely rotating, and whether in one or more segments, and regardless of the number of wheels carried thereon.
(3) “Axle group” means an assemblage of two or more consecutive axles considered together in determining their combined load effect on a highway.
(4) “Bicycle” means every device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power, and having one or more wheels.
(4.1) “Bicycle facility” means any physical facility provided for the exclusive or semi-exclusive use of bicycles. This includes but is not limited to unmarked shared roadways, marked shared roadways, bicycle lanes, shared use trails, and end of trip facilities.
(4.2) “Bicycle lane” means the part of the roadway adjacent to the travel lane, designated by official signs or markings for the preferential or exclusive use by bicycles and electric mobility aid users.
(4.3) “Bicycle parking” means any facility for the storage of bicycles to protect against theft and damage.
(4.4) “Bicycle path or trail” means a public way separated by open space, grade, or other physical barrier from motor traffic, either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way, that is designated for use by persons riding bicycles.
(5) “Bus” or “large passenger vehicle” means every motor propelled vehicle designed for carrying more than ten persons other than a taxicab constructed and designed for transporting persons for commercial purposes.
(6) “Business district” means the territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any six hundred feet along such highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including but not limited to hotels, banks, or office buildings, railroad stations and public buildings which occupy at least three hundred feet frontage on one side or three hundred feet collectively on both sides of the highway.
(7) “Cargo” means the items or freight to be moved, including items placed on or in a vehicle, towed by a vehicle, or a vehicle itself.
(8) “Chauffeur” means every person who is employed by another for the principal purpose of driving a motor vehicle, and every person who drives a school bus transporting school children or any motor vehicle when in use for the transportation of persons or property for compensation.
(9) “Combination of vehicles” means every group of two or more vehicles howsoever joined together which are drawn or propelled by a single motor vehicle.
(10) “Commissioner” means the deputy secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, public safety services.
(11) “Connecting mechanism” means an arrangement of parts interconnecting two or more consecutive axles to the frame of a vehicle in such a manner as to equalize the load between axles.
(12) “Controlled-access highway” means every highway, street, or roadway in respect to which owners or occupants of abutting lands and other persons have no legal right of access to or from the same except at such points only and in such manner as may be determined by the public authority having jurisdiction over such highway, street, or roadway.
(13) “Crosswalk” means: (a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks, shoulders, or a combination thereof on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway or if there is neither a sidewalk nor shoulder, a crosswalk is the portion of the roadway at an intersection that would be included within the prolongation of the lateral lines of the sidewalk, shoulder, or both on the opposite side of the street if there were a sidewalk or shoulder.
(b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.
(14) “Department” means the Department of Transportation and Development.
(15) “Divided highway” means any highway divided into roadways by a median, physical barrier, or clearly indicated dividing section so constructed as to impede vehicular traffic.
(16) “Driver” means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.
(17) “Dummy axle” means a single axle attached independently to the frame of a vehicle and so designed and placed as to indicate the appearance of and to carry a uniformly distributed load of a normal tandem axle.
(18) “Explosives” means any chemical compound or mechanical mixture that is commonly used or intended for the purpose of producing an explosion and which contains any oxidizing and combustive units or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities, or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion, by percussion, or by detonator of any part of the compound or mixture may cause such a sudden generation of highly heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on contiguous objects or of destroying life or limb.
(19) “Farm tractor” means every motor vehicle designed and used primarily as a farm implement, for drawing plows, mowing machines, and other implements of husbandry.
(20) “Flammable liquid” means any liquid which has a flash point of seventy degrees F., or less, as determined by a tagliabue or equivalent closed-cup test device.
(21) “Freight-carrying vehicle” means every motor vehicle designed for and used primarily as a carrier of freight transported for commercial purposes, which vehicle is licensed for six thousand pounds or more. This shall not include pick-up or panel trucks unless they are so heavily loaded with such freight as to exceed six thousand pounds gross weight and shall never include any passenger-carrying vehicle.
(22) “Gross weight” means the weight of a vehicle and/or combination of vehicles without load on all axles including the steering axle plus the weight of any load thereon.
(23) “Height” means the total vertical dimension of any vehicle above the ground surface including any load and load-holding devices thereon.
(24) “High pressure pneumatic tire” means a pneumatic tire designed for use and used when inflated with air to one hundred twenty pounds per square inch pressure or more.
(25) “Highway” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for the purpose of vehicular travel, including bridges, causeways, tunnels and ferries; synonymous with the word “street.”
(26)(a) “Intersection” means: The area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways which join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, or the area within which vehicles traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict.
(b) Where a highway includes two highways thirty feet or more apart, then every crossing of each highway of such divided highway by an intersecting highway shall be regarded as a separate intersection. In the event such intersecting highway also includes two highways thirty feet or more apart, then every crossing of two highways of such highways shall be regarded as a separate intersection.
(c) The junction of an alley or driveway with a street or highway shall not constitute an intersection unless the roadway or highway at said junction is controlled by a traffic control device.
(d)(i) Where a highway includes a stop line, yield line, or crosswalk that has not been designated on the roadway within the median between the separate intersections, the two intersections and the roadway median between them shall be considered as one intersection.
(ii) Where a highway with a stop line, yield line, or crosswalk is designated on the roadway on the intersection approach, the area within the crosswalk or beyond the designated stop line or yield line shall be part of the intersection.
(iii) Where a crosswalk is designated on a roadway on the departure from the intersection, the intersection shall include the area extending to the far side of such crosswalk.
(27) “Interstate highway” means a fully controlled access highway which is a part of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.
(28) “Laned roadway or highway” means a roadway or highway which is divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic.
(29) “Length” means the total longitudinal dimension of a single vehicle, a trailer, or a semi-trailer. Length of a trailer or semi-trailer is measured from the front of the cargo-carrying unit to its rear and includes load-holding devices thereon.
(30) “Light trailer” means every vehicle of the trailer or semi-trailer type having a loaded gross weight of not more than five hundred pounds.
(31) “Load” means a weight or quantity of anything resting upon something else regarded as its support.
(32) “Local municipal authority” means every council, commission, or other board given authority by the constitution and laws of this state to govern the affairs of a municipality.
(33) “Local parish authority” means every police jury, commission, council, or other board given authority by the constitution and laws of this state to govern the affairs of a parish of this state.
(34) “Low pressure pneumatic tire” means a pneumatic tire designed for use and used when inflated with air to less than one hundred twenty pounds per square inch pressure.
(35) “Metal tire” means every tire, the surface of which is in contact with the highway, is wholly or partly of metal or other hard, nonresilient material.
(35.1) “Military surplus motor vehicle” means a wheeled, multipurpose or tactical motor vehicle manufactured for, and sold directly to, the Armed Forces of the United States in conformity with contractual specifications and subsequently authorized for sale to civilians. “Military surplus motor vehicle” does not include mobile construction equipment, trailers, or semitrailers.
(36) “Mobile home” means: (a) a trailer or semitrailer which is designed, constructed and equipped as a dwelling place, living abode, or sleeping place, either permanently or temporarily, and is equipped for use as a conveyance on highways; or, (b) a trailer or semitrailer whose chassis and exterior shell is designed and constructed for use as a mobile home, as defined in (a), but which is used instead permanently or temporarily for the advertising, sales, display, or promotion of merchandise or services, or for any other commercial purpose except the transportation of property for hire or the transportation of property for distribution by a private carrier.
(36.1) “Mobility aid” means a device used by individuals to ambulate independently and that is human or electric powered and used in- or outdoors.
(37) “Motor carrier” means any person owning, controlling, managing, operating, or causing to be used or operated any commercial motor vehicle used in the transportation of persons or property over the public highways of this state, whether as a transportation agency or howsoever utilizing said public facilities.
(38) “Motorcycle” means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor and excluding a motorized bicycle.
(39) “Motor driven cycle” means every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor of not to exceed five horsepower.
(40) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle which is self- propelled, and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails, but excluding a motorized bicycle. “Motor vehicle” shall also include a “low-speed vehicle” which is a four-wheeled, electric-powered vehicle with a maximum speed of not less than twenty miles per hour but not more than twenty-five miles per hour and is equipped with the minimum motor vehicle equipment appropriate for vehicle safety as required in 49 C.F.R. 571.500.
(41) “Motorized bicycle” means a pedal bicycle which may be propelled by human power or helper motor, or by both, with a motor rated no more than one and one-half brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which produces a maximum design speed of no more than twenty-five miles per hour on a flat surface.
(42) “Multiple-lane highway” means any highway with two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in each direction.
(43) “Municipality” means an incorporated village, town, or city created under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state.
(44) “Operator” means every person, other than a chauffeur, who drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle upon a highway or who is exercising control over or steering a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle.
(45) “Owner” means a person who holds a legal title to a vehicle or in the event a vehicle is the subject of an agreement for the conditional sale, lease, or transfer of possession thereof with the right of purchase upon the performance of the conditions stated in the agreement, with the right of immediate possession in the vendee, lessee, possessor, or in the event such similar transaction is had by means of mortgage and the mortgagor of a vehicle is entitled to possession, then the conditional vendee, lessee, possessor, or mortgagor shall be deemed the owner for the purposes of this Chapter.
(46) “Park” or “parking” means the standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading merchandise or passengers.
(46.1) “Parking area” means an area used by the public as a means of access to and egress from, and for the free parking of motor vehicles by patrons of a shopping center, business, factory, hospital, institution, or similar building or location.
(46.2) “Passenger car” means any passenger car required to be equipped with safety belts by Federal Motor Vehicle Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208).
(47) “Pavement structure” means the combination of subbase, base course, and surface course placed on an earth subgrade to support the traffic load and distribute it to the roadbed.
(48) “Pedestrian” means any person afoot or utilizing a mobility aid.
(48.1) “Platoon” or “platooning” means a group of individual motor vehicles, including any truck, truck-tractor, trailer, semitrailer, or any combination of these vehicles, utilizing vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology to travel in a unified manner at close following distances.
(49) “Pneumatic tire” means every tire of rubber or other resilient material which depends upon compressed air for support of a load.
(50) “Police officer” means every officer authorized to direct or regulate traffic or to make arrests for violations of traffic regulations.
(51) “Private road or driveway” means every way or place in private ownership and used for vehicular travel by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner, but not by other persons.
(51.1) “Quadrum axle” means any four consecutive axles whose centers are more than forty inches but not more than ninety-six inches apart, and are designed to equalize the load between axles.
(52) “Railroad” means a carrier of persons or property upon cars, other than streetcars, operated upon stationary rails.
(53) “Railroad sign or signal” means any sign, signal, or device erected by authority of a public body or official or by a railroad and intended to give notice of the presence of railroad tracks or the approach of a railroad train.
(54) “Railroad train” means a steam or diesel engine, electric or other motor, with or without cars coupled thereto, operated upon rails, except streetcars.
(55) “Regular operation” means movement over highways of vehicles, combinations of vehicles, and loads thereon, subject to the limitations contained in this Chapter governing maximum weights and dimensions for motor vehicles and loads thereon.
(56) “Residence district” means the territory contiguous to a highway not comprising a business district, when the frontage on such a highway for a distance of three hundred feet or more is mainly occupied by dwellings or by dwellings and buildings in use for business.
(57) “Right of way” means the privilege of the immediate use of the highway.
(58) “Road tractor” means every motor vehicle designed, constructed, or used either by itself or for drawing other vehicles used in the construction and maintenance of roads, highways, or streets, and not so constructed as to carry any load thereon, either independently or as a part of the weight of a vehicle or load so drawn.
(59) “Roadway” means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. A divided highway has two or more roadways.
(60) “Rotary traffic island” means any circular area of ground, surrounded by a highway or roadway which is designed to prevent the crossing of traffic on four or more otherwise intersecting highways, in order to require all traffic approaching it to proceed for some distance around a portion of the island before entering one of the intersecting highways and to prevent left hand turns onto such otherwise intersecting highways.
(61) “Safety zone” means the area or space officially set apart within a highway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and which is protected or is so marked or indicated by adequate signs as to be plainly visible at all times while set apart as a safety zone.
(62) “School bus” means every motor vehicle that complies with the color, equipment, and identification requirements set forth in this Chapter and is used to transport children to and from school or in connection with school activities, but not including buses operated by common carriers in urban transportation of school children.
(a) “Type I school bus” means any school bus designed to carry more than sixteen pupils at one time.
(b) “Type II school bus” means any school bus designed to carry sixteen or less pupils at one time.
(62.1) “Seat belt” means the manual restraint system installed by the manufacturer as required by Federal Motor Vehicle Standard No. 208 which became effective January 1, 1968.
(63) “Secretary” means the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development or his delegated or authorized representative.
(64) “Semitrailer” means every single vehicle without motive power designed for carrying property and passengers and so designed in conjunction and used with a motor vehicle that some part of its own weight and that of its own load rests or is carried by another vehicle and having one or more load-carrying axles.
(64.1) “Shared use trail” means a public way separated by open space, grade, or other physical barrier from motor traffic, either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way, that is designated for use by pedestrians, mobility aid users, and persons riding bicycles.
(65) “Shoulder” means the portion of the highway contiguous with the roadway for accommodation of stopped vehicles, for emergency use, pedestrian use, mobility aid use, bicycle use, and for lateral support of base and surface.
(66) “Sidewalk” means that portion of a highway between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a highway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for the use of pedestrians.
(67) “Single axle” means an assembly of two or more wheels, whose centers are in one transverse vertical plane or may be included between two parallel transverse vertical planes forty inches apart extending across the full width of the vehicle.
(68) “Single axle weight” means the total weight transmitted to the road by a single axle.
(69) “Special permit” means a written authorization to move or operate on a highway a vehicle or combination of vehicles with indivisible load of size and/or weight exceeding the limits prescribed for vehicles in regular operation.
(70) “Special permit applicant” means an individual, firm, partnership, corporation, or association making application for a special permit to transport a vehicle, combination of vehicles, and/or load which is oversize or overweight and under whose authority and responsibility such vehicle or load is transported.
(71) “Stand” or “standing” means the halting of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers.
(72) “State maintained highway” means any highway in this state which is contained in the state highway system as defined by law or which is maintained by the department.
(73) “Steering axle” means the axle of a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles by which the same is guided or steered.
(74) “Stop” means, when required, the complete cessation from movement.
(75) “Stop” or “stopping” means, when prohibited, any halting, even momentarily of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer, weights and standards police officer, or traffic control sign or signal.
(76) “Street” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for the purpose of vehicular travel, including bridges, causeways, tunnels, and ferries; synonymous with the word “highway.”
(77) “Tandem axle” means any two consecutive axles whose centers are more than forty inches but not more than ninety-six inches apart, and are designed to equalize the load between axles.
(78) “Tandem axle weight” means the total weight transmitted to the road by a tandem axle.
(79) “Tandem truck” means every motor propelled single vehicle designed for the conveyance of property or things for hauling purposes and having one front or steering axle and two rear or load carrying axles, even though one of the load carrying axles is not permanently affixed to the frame of the vehicle and may be removed.
(80) “Through highway” means every highway or portion thereof on which vehicular traffic is given preferential right of way, and at the entrances to which vehicular traffic from intersecting highways is required by law to yield the right of way to vehicles on such through highway in obedience to either a stop sign or a yield sign, when such signs are erected as provided in this Chapter.
(81) “Traffic” means pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, and other conveyances either singly or together while using any highway for purposes of travel.
(82) “Traffic control device” means all signs, signals, markings, and devices, not inconsistent with this Chapter, placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction, for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding traffic.
(83) “Traffic control signal” means a type of highway traffic signal, manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and permitted to proceed.
(84) “Trailer” means every single vehicle without motive power designed for carrying property or passengers wholly on its own structure, drawn by a motor vehicle which carries no part of the weight and load of the trailer on its own wheels and having two or more load carrying axles.
(85) “Tridum axle” means any three consecutive axles whose centers are more than forty inches but not more than ninety-six inches apart, and are designed to equalize the load between axles.
(86) “Tridum axle weight” means the total weight transmitted to the road by a tridum axle.
(87) “Truck” means every motor propelled single vehicle for the conveyance of property or things for hauling purposes and having one front steering axle and one rear or load carrying axle.
(88) “Truck-tractor” means every motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing other vehicles and not so constructed as to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and load drawn.
(89) “Turning path” means the path of a designated point on a vehicle making a specified turn.
(90) “Turning track width” means the radial distance between the turning paths of the outside of the outer front tire and the outside of the rear tire which is nearest the center of the turn.
(91) “Urban district” means the territory contiguous to and including any street which is built up with structures devoted to business, industry, or dwelling houses situated at intervals of less than one hundred feet for a distance of a quarter of a mile or more.
(92) “Vehicle” means every device by which persons or things may be transported upon a public highway or bridge, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. A bicycle or a ridden animal shall be a vehicle, and a trailer or semitrailer shall be a separate vehicle.
(93) Repealed by Acts 2010, No. 320, § 5, eff. July 1, 2010.
(93.1) “Weights and standards police officer” means an employee of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, public safety services, authorized to enforce the provisions of R.S. 32:380 through 388.1, R.S. 32:390, R.S. 47:718, Chapter 4 of Subtitle II of Title 47 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, the access laws and regulations relative to controlled access highways, and certain other specified statutes and regulations determined by the deputy secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, public safety services, or by the Department of Transportation and Development.
(94) “Width” means the total outside transverse dimension of a vehicle including any load or load holding devices thereon but excluding approved safety devices and tire bulge due to load.
Acts 1962, No. 310, § 1. Amended by Acts 1976, No. 192, §§ 1, 2; Acts 1976, No. 383, § 1; Acts 1977, No. 113, §§ 1, 4, eff. June 22, 1977; Acts 1978, No. 35, § 1, eff. May 31, 1978; Acts 1978, No. 433, § 1; Acts 1980, No. 160, § 1; Acts 1981, No. 151, § 1, eff. July 7, 1981; Acts 1981, No. 482, § 1; Acts 1983, No. 416, § 1; Acts 1983, No. 468, § 1; Acts 1985, No. 377, § 1, eff. July 1, 1986; Acts 1986, No. 53, § 1; Acts 1995, No. 301, § 1, eff. June 15, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 733, § 1; Acts 1997, No. 297, § 1; Acts 1997, No. 1186, § 1; Acts 2003, No. 986, § 1; Acts 2008, No. 429, § 1, eff. June 21, 2008; Acts 2010, No. 275, § 1, eff. June 17, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 320, § 1, eff. July 1, 2010; Acts 2010, No. 618, § 2; Acts 2011, No. 98, § 1; Acts 2011, No. 244, § 1; Acts 2013, No. 81, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; Acts 2016, No. 318, § 1; Acts 2016, No. 326, § 1; Acts 2018, No. 310, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2019; Acts 2018, No. 675, § 1.