The Distracted Driving Act of 2004 prohibits the use of cellular or analog phones and other communication devices, including handheld computers, personal data assistants, and video players, to send and receive messages while operating a motor vehicle. This language is interpreted as banning texting as well (DC Code Sec. 50-1731.01et seq.). This Act is actively enforced.
Exempted from the law are 911 and 311 emergency calls made to hospitals, first-aid squads, or ambulance services; fire departments; and police.
Devices with permanent, built-in devices or hands-free accessories that allow operation while a driver has both hands on the wheel are permitted. Use of such devices by school bus drivers and drivers with learner's permits is prohibited.
Violation of the Act is a primary offense, and police officers are allowed to stop vehicles for this violation. The fine for violation is $100.