According to the new law the driver cannot hold cellphones, food, makeup etc to avoid accidents due to distracted driving. The driver cannot check or text or hold the devices and other prohibited items at traffic signal or when stopped at an intersection. The offenders of this law will be fined for $136 for the first offence and $234 for the second and will also appear on the driver’s insurance record.
Apart from texting or dialing, the law also bans eating, putting makeup and shaving or any such activity which might cause the car to drift across lanes. These offences are fined at $99.
Dialing 911 or any other emergency services will still remain legal in Washington DC. It also allows minimal use of finger to activate or deactivate or initiate any function of the device.
The fine will be charged only after 6 months from the date the law comes into effect giving the citizens a chance to adjust with the changes.
Before this law, people were fined for only texting or holding the phone to their ear. But now, people will be charged for holding any electronic device in their either hands or both.
The National Highway Traffic safety Administration had earlier stated that around 3000 people died due to distracted driving in 2014. According to NHTSA, dialing or texting triples the risk of accidents.
According to state farm survey conducted in 2015, 30% of the drivers agree to using internet while driving compared to 13% in 2009.
This is a progressive step. Only 14 state including DC has banned the use of hand held phone while driving while 44 states including DC have banned texting while driving.