Safety Laws in Washington DC
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Anyone driving through D.C. may only use hands-free cell phones. However, if it's an emergency situation (such as to call law enforcement), a conventional cell phone may be used.
Drivers with learner's permits and school bus drivers may not use any sort of cell phone while driving, unless it's for an emergency situation.
All drivers, regardless of license status, are banned from texting while behind the wheel.
You must turn on your headlights when driving anytime from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise, as well as whenever you can't clearly see 500 feet ahead of your vehicle.
High beams can't be used within 500 feet of approaching traffic, or when within 300 feet of a vehicle traveling in your direction.
Everyone riding in a vehicle must wear a seat belt or be contained by an appropriate safety system.
A law enforcement officer may pull a vehicle over solely because someone inside the vehicle isn't wearing a seat belt. If you're driving a vehicle, you're responsible for ensuring that all passengers are wearing a seat belt. If they're not, you could be hit with a $50 fine and have two points applied to your license.
Although it's not required, children under 12 should ride in the rear seat of the vehicle.
Passengers under the age of three must be properly secured in an approved child safety seat located in the rear seat of the vehicle. It's worth noting that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that safety seats be used for kids up to age eight, though states set their own rules.
If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a child car seat at any time. When ordering, be sure the car seat matches your child's height, weight and age.
Although the district doesn't have any specific laws pertaining to leaving children unattended in a vehicle, anyone who knowingly or intentionally engages in conduct that places the health of a child in serious risk can be charged with an offense.
Other Topics in This Section
- Traffic Alerts
- 511 Traffic Systems
- Tire Recalls
- Safety Laws
- How Emotions Affect Driving
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Teen Drivers: A Beginner's Guide
- Seniors: When To Turn Over The Car Keys
- Packing Your First-Aid Kit
- Seven Senior Safety Suggestions
- Wildlife on the Road
- When to Call Wildlife Rescue
- Taking A Mature Driver Course
- Medications & Driving
- Night Driving
- Hallucinations on the Road
- How To Drive Distraction Free
- Treating Motion Sickness
- Road Rage: How To Deal With It
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