District of Columbia Distracted Driving Laws
- Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary Law).
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary Law).
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary Law).
- Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary Law).
Washington D.C.’s Texting While Driving Stand
Washington D.C. is home to several laws that affect the ability of drivers to talk or text while they are operating a motor vehicle. Tickets are being issued at a record rate, and drivers are threatened with citations when they break the laws that are related to driving and texting or talking on a cell phone. During the 2011 year, the Washington D.C. metropolitan police force wrote 11,868 tickets to drivers who were breaking the law against driving and talking on a cell phone. This is up over 20 percent from 2009. The current number of tickets ties the record that was set in 2008.
Many residents have expressed concerns after a growing rise in accidents that are caused by distracted drivers. The nation’s capital first began enforcing legislation during 2004. Since this time, the number of tickets that have been issued seems to increase nearly every year. There are still numerous instances of drivers who are seen operating their vehicle while distracted by their cell phone. Texting, talking and surfing the Internet are just some of the activities that drivers have been seen doing while operating motor vehicles on the roads around the nation’s capital.
Drivers should be sure that they know about the latest prohibitions that affect their ability to drive and talk on their cell phones. Visitors and residents are often caught unaware by the legislation. Though the laws have been enforced since 2004, there are still some drivers who do not know what is exactly covered in the legislation. Knowing what is illegal will help drivers keep from getting tickets and fines when they are driving around the nation’s capital. Washington D.C. has some of the strictest legislation around the country, and the following things are banned for motorists who are driving through the nation’s capital.
Drivers are allowed to talk on their phones while they are driving. However, the law states that drivers must use Bluetooth or other hands-free technology. This law also bans any type of texting that requires drivers to use their hands to type messages. Surfing the Internet, while driving, is also covered in the ban. Using any type of handheld electronic device is prohibited when driving in Washington D.C.
Drivers who are operating a motor vehicle with their learner’s permits are unable to use any type of cell phone. This includes wireless technology. Young drivers are unable to use any type of electronic device while they are driving around Washington D.C. until they get their driver’s license. After beginning drivers get their license, they can use wireless cell phones.
School bus drivers are also prohibited from using any type of cell phone when they are operating their vehicles. The ban for school bus drivers includes the use of any cell phone even ones that use Bluetooth technology. This part of the ban only applies to school bus drivers while they are operating a school vehicle. Personal vehicles are not included in this part of the legislation.
There s no new distracted driving legislation on the way currently for the nation’s capital. Lawmakers and police agencies are satisfied with the current legislation and believe that it has made Washington D.C. a safer place for driving, thus there are no new laws currently being considered. Drivers can take advantage of the fact that Bluetooth and other wireless technology allows them to use their phones, but they are not allowed to use their hands to text, surf the Internet or talk. Many residents are still concerned about the dangers that are associated with distracted drivers. However, the current legislation prohibits most of the dangerous activities and has improved the conditions on the roads around Washington D.C.
Drivers who get caught using a handheld electronic device or smartphone while they are driving are subject to being cited. The maximum amount of fine for violating this law the first time is $100. The fines will rise with subsequent offenses. This is one of the chief punishments that have been enacted to keep distracted drivers from posing a safety hazard. Tickets are being written at a record pace, and the amount of fines that have been collected is incredibly high.
Fairfax County, Virginia is adjacent to Washington D.C. and forms part of the metropolitan area that surrounds the nation’s capital. The 2010 driving numbers for this jurisdiction have risen in the past few years as well. These figures are at record highs and continue to increase. The police issued more than 9,000 tickets to drivers in Fairfax County, Virginia during 2010. This is a 24 percent increase from the year before. Drivers in Northern Virginia are also prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while they are distracted by their smartphone or another electronic device.
Legislation that bans the use of handheld phones and other electronic devices was first enforced in 2004. Numerous drivers have received tickets since the Washington D.C. police began issuing infractions. The nation’s capital has collected nearly $4 million dollars in fines from motorists who were ticketed for violating the cell phone driving ban. During the first four years of the ban, from 2004 to 2008, there were more than 42,000 tickets written in Washington D.C. Despite the growing number of citations, the amount of tickets that are issued continues to rise.
The Washington D.C. metropolitan police have also recently released the statistics for the tickets that have been issued since the ban went into effect. During 2005, then police wrote more than 7,500 citations to drivers. In 2006, this number increased, and there were more than 8,300 citations issued around the nation’s capital. The police wrote close to 10,000 tickets during 2007. 12,000 citations were written during 2008. These tickets were all issued to drivers who violated the ban on using handheld cell phones or electronic devices while they were operating their vehicles in the nation’s capital. The current number of tickets is set to surpass these records.