District of Columbia

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban all drivers
Young drivers all cellphone ban learner's permit holders
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) n/a
Urban interstates (mph) 55
Other limited access roads (mph) n/a
Other roads (mph) 25
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 161
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months1
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 40 hours in learner’s stage; 10 hours at night in intermediate stage
Have a minimum age of 16, 6 months2
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions September–June: 11 p.m.-6 a.m. Sun.–Thur., 12:01 a.m.-6 a.m. Sat.–Sun.; July–August: 12:01 a.m.-6 a.m.2
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
no passengers2
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions 6 months or until age 21, whichever occurs first (min. age: 18)2
Passenger restrictions 6 months or until age 21, whichever occurs first (min. age: 18)2
OLDER DRIVER LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURES
License renewal cycle
General population 8 years
Older population 8 years
OLDER DRIVER LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURES
Proof of adequate vision required at renewal
General population every renewal
Older population every renewal
OLDER DRIVER LICENSE RENEWAL PROCEDURES
Mail or online renewal permitted
General population both, every other renewal
Older population not permitted 70 and older
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint 7 years and younger
Adult safety belt permissible 8 through 15 years
Maximum fine 1st offense $753
Seating preference law states no preference for rear seat
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 12/12/85
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 10/01/97
Who is covered? In what seats? 16+ years in all seats
Maximum fine 1st offense $503
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? no
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered all riders
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law 15 and younger
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas yes4
Gaps in coverage employees on duty; people riding within truck bodies in a space intended for materials
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads on which a low speed vehicle would not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph
MINITRUCKS
Initial effective date no law
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? District of Columbia
Violations red light
Citations issued to whom? owner
Who is liable? owner
What image is taken? not addressed
Traditional enforcement penalty $150 fine; 2 points
Auto enforcement penalties/record $150 fine; no points
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: SPEED CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? District of Columbia
Violations speed
Citations issued to whom? owner
Who is liable? owner
What image is taken? not addressed
Traditional enforcement penalty $50-$300 fine; 3- 5 points based on the number of miles per hour over the posted speed limit
Auto enforcement penalties/record fine (no points) based on the number of miles per hour over the posted speed limit; 1-10 mph: $50; 11-15 mph: $92; 16-20 mph: $100; 21-25 mph: $150; 26 mph or more: $300

1In the District of Columbia, license applicants younger than 21 must go through the intermediate stage until they have completed it or until they turn 21. The learner's stage is mandatory for the intermediate stage. A nighttime restriction (9 p.m.-6 a.m.) applies in the learner stage.

2In the District of Columbia, drivers younger than 18 who have completed the intermediate stage must continue to comply with the nighttime driving restriction until they turn 18. In addition, these drivers may not carry more than 2 passengers younger than 21.

3This state assesses points for violations.

4This provision is designed to prohibit riding on hoods, fenders, and other places not designed for passengers. The exemption for people in the body of a truck applies to enclosed areas like the cargo area of a straight truck or van.