Safety Laws in Washington DC

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Cell Phones and Texting

All drivers in Washington DC, regardless of age, are allowed to use hands-free cell phones. A conventional cell phone can be used only when there is an emergency. School bus drivers and those who hold learner’s permit are banned from using any sort of cell phone while driving, unless on emergency situations. The safety laws in Washington DC bans all drivers, regardless of age and license status, from texting while driving on public roads and streets.


You must turn on your vehicle’s headlights immediately after sunset until sunrise. Headlights should also be turned on when the visibility is less than 500 feet. The law prohibits drivers from using high beams when the visibility of approaching traffic at 500 feet is low or when the visibility of following a vehicle going in your direction at 300 feet is low. The law requires all motorcycle riders to turn on their headlights during the day and night. For more information about headlight usage, study the Washington DC driving manual.

Seat Belts

All occupants in a car that is in motion must wear a seat belt or be secured by safety system. A traffic officer is allowed by the law to pull your vehicle over if you are caught without a seat belt. It is the responsibility of all drivers to ensure that every passenger in their car wears seat belt while driving. If they are caught without a seat belt, you will get 2 points on your driver’s license and a $50 fine. The passenger’s safety agencies recommends that children under 12 years old should sit in the rear seat of your car.

Child Car Seat Laws

Children less than 3 years old should be fastened in a state approved child safety seat. The passenger’s safety agencies recommend that the seat should be placed in the rear seat of your car. When you are shopping for a child safety seat, you should be informed by your child’s age, weight and height.

Unattended Children

Washington DC doesn’t have a law that prosecutes offenders that leave children unattended in a vehicle. However, if you are found knowingly engaging in a conduct that jeopardizes the safety of a child in a car, you will be charged with an offense.