A federal district on the historic Potomac River and situated between Maryland and Virginia, Washington, D.C., is the capital of the United States. Tucked away in this district are all three branches of America’s government, a healthy variety of national monuments and enough prestigious museums to educate a city. Drop by the White House, enjoy the cherry blossoms along the river or feed the animals at the National Zoological Park all while appreciating the District’s pride in being home to the president. CheapCarInsurance.net wants to make visting the District of Columbia easier by ensuring its drivers know everything necessary to stay safe on the road.


Even though laws are born in D.C., it doesn’t mean they don’t change just as fast as the rest of the country’s. This list of all the necessary information regarding Washington D.C.’s driving laws will help keep the district’s drivers protected while running the country.

Washington DC’s Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance

  • The District of Columbia requires a minimum insurance coverage on all vehicles registered and/or operated in the state:
  • Liability minimums in Washington DC:
    • $25,000 per person in an accident.
    • $50,000 per accident.
    • $10,000 covers property damage in an accident.
  • Uninsured Motorist minimums:
    • $25,000 per person
    • $50,000 per accident
    • $5,000 for property damage

New Driver Licensing Requirements

  • To obtain a license in the District of Columbia, all new drivers must pass a vision, knowledge and driving skills test. Drivers who possess a valid out-of-state license may learn more about the process on the District’s DMV website. The district uses a system to train young drivers entitled the Gradual Rearing Of Adult Drivers (GRAD). The program is designed for drivers ages 16-21 and consists of 3 phases:
    1. Learner’s Permit
    2. Provisional License
    3. Full License (with or without conditions)
  • Learner’s Permit. Applicants must pass the written and knowledge tests and be at least 16 years old to apply for the permit. The following applies while holding this permit:
    • The applicant must keep the permit for 6 months and receive no points
    • The applicant must complete 40 hours of driving with a licensed driver 21 years or older.
  • Provisional License. Once the applicant satisfies the requirements for the permit phase, turns 16 years, 6 months old and passes the road skills test, he/she may apply for the Provisional License. The following applies while holding this license:
    • The applicant must complete 10 additional hours of night driving.
    • The applicant must have a clean driving record for 12 consecutive months prior to applying for a full license.
    • The applicant must keep the license for at least 6 months.
  • Full License with Conditions Drivers age 17 who have satisfied the requirements for the provisional phase may apply for this license. The following applies while holding this license:
    • No supervisor is required to be in the vehicle with the applicant.
    • Applicants under the age of 18 are limited to 2 unrelated passengers under the age of 21.
    • All occupants must wear safety belts.
  • Every phase has strict driving time restrictions, and an extensive list of the driving times is available on the DMV website.
  • Vision Screening. New drivers and all renewal applicants must complete the vision screening. To pass, the applicant must have at least 20/40 in one eye and at least 20/70 in the other. A field of vision of 120 degrees is required. Corrective lenses may be worn, and restrictions apply for applicants with varying degrees of vision.
  • Knowledge Test. Washington, D.C.’s Driver’s Manual provides all the necessary information to pass the knowledge test. The test consists of 25 questions that evaluate the applicant’s understanding of traffic laws, regulations, rules of the road and safe driving practices.
  • 20 of the 25 questions must be correctly answered, and 6 attempts are allowed to pass the test. A waiting period of 72 hours is required between each attempt, and after the 6th attempt a 1 year waiting period is required.
  • Skills Test. This test evaluates the applicant’s driving skills, and the vehicle used in the test must be provided by the applicant. The test administrator will perform a pre-test inspection, and the list of items inspected can be found in the Driver’s Manual. The applicant will perform various driving maneuvers with the administrator sitting in the seat adjacent to him/her.
  • Fees. Each applicant must pay the applicable fees:
    • Knowledge Test: $10
    • Road Test: $10
    • Learner Permit: $20
    • Provisional License: $20
    • Regular License: $44


  • BAC limit: .08 Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department outlines DUI penalties in the district as follows:
  • First Offense:
    • Jail: maximum 180 days
    • License revocation: 6 months
    • Fine: maximum $1,000
  • Second Offense within 10 years:
    • Jail: 10 days to 1 year
    • License revocation: 1 year
    • Fine: $2,500 to $5,000
  • Third Offense:
    • Jail: 12 days to 1 year
    • License revocation: 2 year
    • Fine: $2,500 to $5,000

Texting & Driving Laws

Distraction.gov indicates that DC has banned texting and handheld cell phone use for all drivers and all cell phone use for novice and bus drivers.

Unique Laws

The country’s capital should have more serious matters on its mind than some of the laws it has on its books. For example, one may not ride a surfboard while on any kind of hallucinogen. The number of accordions playing at an event is limited to one. Whistling in the bathroom is prohibited, and Santa Claus may not sell beer!


Best Cheap Car Insurance Quotes for District of Columbia

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CheapCarInsurance.net Methodology

Car insurance quotes are for one car and one driver who has state minimum coverage with $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles. The hypothetical driver is 40 years old, female, married, employed, a college graduate, and has good credit. She has no moving violations, accidents, claims, or lapse in coverage. The vehicles are assumed to be garaged on premises, used primarily for commuting, and driven 16,000 miles per year. Car insurance quotes include commonly available discounts and are estimates and not guaranteed.

Average Car Insurance Premiums

NAIC.org recorded Washington DC’s 2008 average premiums at 1,126, approximately 300 above the national average of 789. The state’s average auto insurance premiums as a percentage of income have consistently remained well above the national since then.
[lineChartAverageCarInsPrem state=’District of Columbia’]
[lineChartAverageCarIns_Percentage_Of_Income state=’District of Columbia’]

Drunk Driving Fatalities

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, D.C.’s percentage of drunk driving fatalities dropped slightly in 2012 and then more dramatically in 2014. This puts the District well below the national average of drunk driving fatalities.
[lineChart_Drunk_Driving state=’Dist of Columbia’]

Vehicular Theft in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.’s vehicle theft rate for 2011 through 2014 continues to surpass the national average by a wide margin. The FBI reported that, although DC’s 2011 rate of 720 dropped to 529 a year later, the 2012 national average was still much lower at 229. The statistics have remained relatively constant through 2014.
[lineChart_Motor_Vehicle_Theft state=’District of Columbia’]


State Department of Insurance

Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking
810 First Street, NE
Suite 701
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 727-8000
Get Directions

Department of Transportation

District Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE
Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20003
(202) 673-6813
Get Directions

Department of Motor Vehicles

District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles
(202) 737-4404
For office locations, hours and directions, visit http://dmv.dc.gov

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