District of Columbia

GHSA maintains data on state laws surrounding a number of highway safety issues. Below is information regarding laws in the District of Columbia. For more information, consult the State Highway Safety Office.

  • Alcohol Impaired Driving


    Increased Penalty for High BAC Administrative License Suspension on First Offense Limited Driving Privileges During Suspension
    .20, .25 and .30 2-90 days or until deposition Yes

    Ignition Interlocks

    Mandatory for all convictions


    Open Container Laws Repeat Offender Laws
    Yes Yes


  • Bicyclists and Pedestrians

    Bicycle helmets required for all riders under 16.

  • Child Passenger Safety

    Child Restraint Required

    Under 2 yrs or under 40 lbs in rear-facing child restraint

    2–3 yrs old and under 30 lbs in forward-facing child restraint in the back seat

    Under 8 yrs old and under 57” tall in a child restraint or booster seat in the back seat

    Adult Safety Belt Permissible

    8-15 yrs

  • Distracted Driving

    Hand-Held Ban?

    Yes. Primary law.

    All Cell Phone Ban?

    School Bus Drivers

    Yes. Primary law.

    Novice Drivers

    Drivers with learner's permit. Primary law.

    Text Messaging Ban?

    All drivers. Primary law.

  • Drug Impaired Driving

    DUID Zero Tolerance or Per se Laws for Some Drugs

    • None

    Marijuana-Specific Laws

    • Possession and Use: Decriminalized and legal for recreational and medical use
    • Impaired Driving: None
  • Mature Drivers

    Length of Regular Renewal Cycle

    5 years

    Provisions for Mature Drivers

    70 and over: no electronic renewal; medical certification required


  • Motorcyclists

    Universal helmet law enacted 1970.

  • Seat Belts

    Type of Law


    Who Is Covered?

    16 and over

    In What Seat?


  • Speed and Red Light Cameras

    Speed Cameras

    State Law

    Permitted by district law

    Where Permitted


    Red Light Cameras

    State Law


    Permitted Locations/Criteria


  • Speeding and Aggressive Driving

    Urban Interstates

    Cars (MPH) Trucks (MPH)
    55 55
  • Teen and Novice Drivers

    Full Privilege Minimum Age

    18 years

    Learner Stage

    Minimum Age (Years/Months)

    Minimum Duration (Months)

    Required Supervised Driving Hours (Night Hours)

    16 6 40 (10 in intermediate stage)

    Intermediate Stage

    Minimum Age (Years/Months)

    Nighttime Driving Restriction

    Passenger Restriction (except family, unless noted)

    16 / 6

    September through June: 11 p.m. - 6 a.m. (Sun-Thurs); Midnight - 6 a.m. (Fri-Sat)

    July through August: midnight - 6 a.m.

    First 6 months: no passengers

    Thereafter: No more than 2 passengers under 21