Updated: January, 2023Summary of common traffic laws in District of Columbia – Speed limits, License Renewals, Learners Permits, Drunk Driving Laws, and more. For more information, visit the District Highway Safety Office website.
In District of Columbia, the maximum speed limit for cars is 55 mph. The maximum highway speed for trucks is also 55 mph. These are maximum speeds. Speeds may be lower on highway passing through urban areas. Always observe posted traffic laws and drive safely for the weather and road conditions.
District of Columbia allows new drivers to get their learners permit at the age of 16. You must have your provisional license for a minimum of 6 months. Drivers can then get their intermediate license at 16 years and 6 months. An Intermediate License allows you to drive yourself without a qualified co-pilot in the car. However, driving restrictions still apply including the time-of-day you can drive and the maximum number of passengers allowed.
In District of Columbia, drivers can obtain their full drivers license at the age of 18.
District of Columbia requires you to renew your license every 5 years. If you are over a certain age, additional license renewal rules apply:
The state of District of Columbia enforces increased penalties for various violations within work zones. These increased penalties are known as Work Zone Enhancements. Workers must be present but road work signs do not have to be in place in order for the Work Zone Enhancement to be enforced. In District of Columbia, Work Zone Enhacements are:
The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. Driving while above the legal limit is called Driving Under the Influence. Driving while above certain BAC is called Driving while intoxicated and carries a heavier penalty. In District of Columbia, driving with a BAC above 0.20% will trigger automatic enhanced minimum penalties.
Cellphones and other handheld devices are banned while driving in most states. In District of Columbia, hand-held devices such as phones and mp3 player are banned for all drivers, regardless of age. Hands-free interaction with cellphones is allowed.
Texting while driving is banned in District of Columbia. Texting while driving is concidered a primary offense. This means that you can be pulled over with texting as the only offense. In District of Columbia, distracted driving is listed as a category on police crash report forms.
District of Columbia requires seabelt use. Seatbelt enforcement is concidered primary, meaning you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for a seatbelt law violation in District of Columbia is $50.00. Seatbelt use laws depend on the driving experience of the driver and which seat of the car a passenger is sitting in.