Washington D.C.’s distracted driving laws contain cellphone and text-messaging restrictions that apply to all drivers. This article gives an overview of specifically what the laws prohibit and the penalties you’ll face for a texting or cellphone ticket in the District of Columbia.
In Washington D.C., it’s illegal for all motorists to use a cellphone or other electronic device that’s not equipped with a hands-free accessory while operating a moving vehicle.
Cellphone and electronic device use. For purposes of the distracted driving laws, “use” means:
Hands-free accessories. A “hands-free accessory” doesn’t necessarily need to be an accessory that’s apart from the phone itself. Using any technology—weather an add-on or a built-in feature—that allows the driver to keep both hands on the wheel is permissible.
Exceptions. The distracted driving laws don’t apply to:
School bus drivers and drivers with learner’s permits are entirely banned from texting and cellphone use while operating a vehicle that’s in motion—regardless of whether they use hands-free accessories. The only exception for these drivers is using a cellphone to make an emergency call.
Washington D.C.’s distracted driving penalties are as follows:
Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, negligent homicide charges are a possibility.