District of Columbia Driving and Traffic Laws


The driving and traffic laws of District of Columbia are quite specific about what is expected of the people driving vehicles in the state. If you move in to Washington, DC, you should obtain a DC driver license within 30 days of moving in.

Driving License in Washington, DC

Any person living in Washington, DC and driving a vehicle should have a valid driving license. The learner license could be obtained at the age of 16. Full license is granted for people of age 17 and above. The applicant should submit proof of full legal name, social security number, date of birth and DC residency. If the driver is below 18, parental or guardian consent would be needed. The applicant should surrender the previous driving license or identification card. The previous license should not have been revoked, suspended, or denied. Further, the applicant for driving license should successfully complete the driving knowledge test, vision screening, and skills road test. The applicant should comply with the statutory medical fitness requirements. Finally, the applicant should not have any outstanding debt to the state or unpaid fines for traffic violations in any other jurisdiction in US. Moreover, persons between the age of 16 and 20 would be placed in the Graduated Licensing Program or GRAD, which is Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers.

Traffic Rules in Washington, DC

In Washington, DC, even if a traffic signal light is on green and a police officer signals the driver to stop, the driver should obey the police officer. You should overtake another vehicle only when there are solid or broken lane markings. If you possess a provisional driving license, you should not drive alone. Another person, who is over 21 and having a full license, should occupy the front seat next to you. Further, the driving hours are restricted for persons having provisional driving licenses. The driver and passengers should wear seat belt. Insurance should be maintained throughout the life of the vehicle. You should remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way at all street crossing, unless traffic officers or traffic control devices are available.

Accidents in Washington, DC

If you are involved in an accident, you should immediately stop driving and remain as close to the site of accident as possible. If you are able, you should assist any injured person by calling an ambulance. When the appropriate authorities arrive, you should provide full personal details like name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle that you had been driving, along with your insurance information.

Drunk Driving in Washington, DC

If any person is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, the driver would be deemed to have been driving in a drunk state. Persons under the age of 21 should not consume alcohol in Washington, DC. If such persons are discovered to be driving in a drunken condition, they would be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. First the first offense, the fine would vary between $300 and $1,000 and the jail term would be up to 90 days. For second offense, fine would be between $1,000 and $5,000 and the jail term would be up to one year. For the third offense, the fine would vary between $2,000 and $10,000, while the jail term would be up to one year. In certain cases, the license could also be revoked for periods varying between 6 months and 2 years for the above offenses.