Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–1731.02. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Distracted driving” means inattentive driving while operating a motor vehicle that results in the unsafe operation of the vehicle where such inattention is caused by reading, writing, performing personal grooming, interacting with pets or unsecured cargo, using personal communications technologies, or engaging in any other activity which causes distractions.

(2) “Hands-free accessory” means an attachment, add-on, built-in feature, or addition to a mobile telephone, whether or not permanently installed in a motor vehicle, that when used allows the vehicle operator to maintain both hands on the steering wheel.

(3) “Mobile telephone” means a cellular, analog, wireless, or digital telephone capable of sending or receiving telephone messages without an access line for service.

(4) “Other electronic device” includes, but is not limited to, hand-held computers, pagers, and video games.

(4A) “Text” or “texting” means using an electronic wireless communications device to compose, send, receive, or read a written message or image using a text-based communication system, including communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.

(5) “Use” means talking, placing, texting, or receiving a call, or attempting to place, text, or receive a call, on a wireless communications device, including a mobile telephone.


(Mar. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-124, § 2, 51 DCR 1541; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 227(a), 56 DCR 7413.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-88 added par. (4A); and rewrote par. (5), which had read as follows: “(5) ‘Use’ means talking, placing, or receiving a call, or attempting to place or receive a call, on a mobile telephone.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 227(a) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 227(a) of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).