The next time you're trying to decide whether or not to drive through flooded streets, it's probably a good idea to know about and understand the Louisiana law you're probably about to break.

TITLE 32 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation

RS 32:58.1 - Careless operation during flood conditions

The above is the fancy name of the Louisiana law about driving on flooded roadways and putting other people's property or well-being in danger by pushing water onto or into their property.

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The "Careless operation during flood conditions law" in Louisiana states that "Any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads of this state during flood conditions shall drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to create a wake that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless operation during flood conditions."

So, if you do choose to drive through flooded streets and cause wakes that damage property or worse, you are indeed breaking the law.

la.gov/legis

 

In Louisiana, a citation for "Careless Operation of a Vehicle" will cost you at least $300 in fines and court costs according to crescentcitylawfirm.com. Your insurance can also go up as a result of the citation, even if you aren't involved in an accident. It can even affect your credit score.

What about emergency vehicles like police cars and ambulances, utility trucks, and even military vehicles?

Below is the complete law from justia.com.

§58.1. Careless operation during flood conditions

            A. Any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads of this state during flood conditions shall drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to create a wake that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless operation during flood conditions.

            B. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the following persons were operating a motor vehicle in a careful and prudent manner during flood conditions:

            (1) Any person operating a vehicle owned or operated by a public utility, whether publicly or privately owned while acting in the course and scope of his employment or agency relating to the operation, repair, or maintenance of a facility, servitude, or any property owned by the utility.

            (2) Any person operating a military, law enforcement, or emergency services vehicle while acting in the course and scope of his employment or official duties.

What the law is saying is that military, law enforcement, or emergency service vehicles will be presumed to be operating in a safe manner.

Once I started driving when I was a teenager, my mom used to say to me when I left the house "watch out for the otha' fella". Please, when we're dealing with flooding in Acadiana, "watch out for the otha' fella".