Why Driving And Texting Is Illegal In DC
Cell Phone Law
Distracted driving has been an increasing problem in the US, as more and more people are texting or otherwise using their cell phones while driving; many states have begun passing laws to reduce distracted driving, and the city of Washington, DC has even passed laws that ban many types of distracted driving altogether with the DC cell phone law. Below you’ll find more information about those laws and why they are so important to follow if you live in DC or are visiting there on vacation according to our friends at Cohen & Cohen.
Can You Use a GPS while Driving?
Yes and no. You can use your phone as a GPS to give you directions while driving. However, you cannot type in the directions to your maps app while driving. If your car is parked, you can definitely type in your destination, but while driving it’s a no-no. You are allowed to use voice commands if you are driving to get directions. The important part is that you do not take your eyes off the road!
Talking on the Phone
Cell phone law in Washington DC states that it is illegal to talk on the phone while driving. Drivers are required to use a hands-free device, keep their phones below eye level, or turn off their phones altogether. Holding your phone in your hand to type is still legal, but you have to have one hand on the wheel at all times. For example, if you’re weaving through traffic? That would be illegal! Remember, it’s fine if you use bluetooth or the speaker on your phone. You just cannot have the phone in your hand, so be careful if you are using the speaker phone ad still have the phone in your hand.
Emailing While Driving
You might think that texting or talking on the phone while driving would be less dangerous than if you were drunk. In reality, if you are texting or calling while behind the wheel, it’s actually more dangerous. If a driver spends just 5 seconds looking down at their phone to answer a text, they will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road! That’s extremely unsafe. Not only does using your cell phone distract drivers from paying attention to the road, but it also causes accidents. A few examples include one person who drove into a fire hydrant after dropping her phone; another person who caused an accident because he was distracted by his GPS device; and finally, an incident where someone hit another car because she was trying to plug her phone charger into her car adapter. In short, you cannot email while driving.
What if I’m Playing Music While Driving?
When you are driving you have to make sure you can hear any potential sirens. You may listen to music as long as you can hear an ambulance or other emergency vehicle approaching. Just be mindful of your surroundings while doing so, because they are not the only ones who need to be safe. Music is one thing, but texting is another. If you are texting, then it is best to pull over before sending that text message because it will only take a few seconds for the person on the other end to respond, but it could take minutes for someone to come by after an accident if you are on the side of the road distracted by your phone. Plus, with the new law you will receive a ticket!
When Can I Use my Cell Phone While Driving?
It’s illegal to text while driving in the District. In order to fully comply with the law, be sure to use a hands-free device, or pull over to send messages. Furthermore, you are not allowed to use your handheld device if you’re under 18 years old. Also, it’s prohibited for drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to make any form of communication using their phone during or immediately following the accident.
Have you received a ticket while using a cell phone? Contact a lawyer today for help with your case!