Vehicle Code in Washington DC

What is the Motor Vehicle Code?

Just as Washington, D.C. is a unique jurisdiction in the United States, so are its laws a unique, patch-worked hybrid of British law, the early laws of the state of Maryland and the state of Virginia (both of whom ceded land to comprise the district), and acts of Congress.

Even today the laws passed in the District of Columbia by the city council must go through a congressional review period before they officially become law. This unusual procedure is in place because, not being a state, the district does not otherwise have representation in Congress.

Title 50 is the section within the D.C. Code that deals with motor and non-motor vehicles and traffic laws. These laws are passed in order to promote safety, protection, and order for both drivers and pedestrians alike.

The laws in the D.C. Code are updated as new laws are passed by the Council of the District of Columbia.

As you can see, the motor vehicle portion of the D.C. Code covers not only the rules of the road for the District of Columbia, but it also covers a wide variety of other topics such as the sale of vehicles, insurance, the regulation of car dealers, and the basic responsibilities of motorists.

Reading the laws can provide you with a better understanding of why you may have received a traffic ticket, if you can fight a ticket you've received, and how to avoid violating Washington, D.C. traffic laws in the future. If you need legal advice or help contesting a citation, you may want to consider contacting an attorney.

Important Topics in D.C. Title 50

When you navigate to the home page for the D.C. Code, you will have to scroll down to Title 50 and then drill down to the specific topics you want to research.

Title 50. Motor and Non-Motor Vehicles And Traffic

Subtitle I: Commercial and Government Vehicles

  • Insurance, inspections, and registration.
  • Driver safety programs.
  • Penalties.

Subtitle II: Consumer Protection

  • Consumers' remedy for defective vehicles.
  • Disclosure of damages or defects in used motor vehicles; violations; penalties.
  • Rules and regulations.

Subtitle III: Environmental Protection

Subtitle IV: Motorized Vehicle Registration, Inspection, Licensing

  • Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Driver license compact.
  • Inspection.
  • Motor vehicle owners and operators responsibility.
  • Operator's permits.
  • Registration of motor vehicles.

Subtitle V: Non-Motorized Vehicles

Subtitle VI: Safety

  • Distracted-driving prevention.
  • Mandatory use of seat belts.
  • Senior citizen motor vehicle accident prevention course certification.

Subtitle VII: Traffic

  • Regulation of traffic.
  • Traffic adjudication.

Subtitle VII: Vehicles on Public and Private Space

  • Abandoned and junk vehicle removal.
  • Public parking authority.
  • Regulation of parking.

Check Your D.C. Driver's License Status

Whenever you need or want to check the status of your Washington driver's license, you can order a driving record report. This record will spell out if your driver's license is currently valid. Should your license have been revoked or suspended, the report will indicate that according to what's on record at the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This report will also show points against your driver's license and, in some cases, information on any accidents you have had.

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