D.C. Ban on Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Drivers Begins Today
Thursday, July 1, 2004; Page B01
Beginning today, a new District law prohibits anyone driving in the city from talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device.
Police will issue warnings to violators for the first 31 days. Starting in August, violators will be given tickets and fined $100 for each offense. Officers do not need to see evidence of another traffic violation to stop and cite motorists for breaking the cell phone law.
Drivers may purchase the hands-free devices, such as earpieces and headsets, for as little as $15 at many area stores.
Under the law, motorists may use a cell phone without a hands-free device only when they are dialing a call, turning off the phone or conducting an emergency call. D.C. officials have encouraged motorists to avoid using cell phones altogether while driving.
New York, which enacted a similar law in 2001, has issued nearly 270,000 tickets to drivers for improper cell phone use.
New Jersey's law on cell phone use, similar to the District's, also goes into effect today.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company