What Is The Washington, D.C. Three Strikes Bill?

Three Strikes Bill Lawyers in Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland

driver talking on cell phoneLast month, the D.C. council voted on a bill that would become the toughest distracted driving law in the U.S. if it passed. The Three Strikes Bill, as it has become known as, would create new penalties for distracted driving, including:

  • If a driver was caught using a handheld device while driving, first time offenders will be issued a fine of $100
  • If a driver is caught texting while driving a second time within 18 months, he or she will be charged $150
  • If a driver is caught using their phone while driving three times within 18 months, he or she will lose their driver’s license for anywhere between 30 to 90 days in addition to being issued a fine that would cost anywhere from $200 to $800

Would the New D.C. Three Strikes Bill Be Effective in Fighting Distracted Driving?

There’s one big problem with this bill. Currently, the D.C. Police Department has no technology that will be able to track the number of distracted driving violations each driver has. According to D.C.’s chief financial officer, there won’t be enough money available in the budget to implement this bill until after the 2020 fiscal year.

Moreover, the bill still does not address other forms of distracted driving, including hands-free devices, in-car devices or earbuds. Additionally, there’s the question of what the District could realistically do to enforce this potential new law if violators have out-of-state driver’s licenses.

According to AAA, eight out of every 10 car crashes in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas is connected to distracted driving. Within the District alone, more than 1,000,000 distracted driving citations were issued between 2004 and 2014. It is clear something needs to be done about this dangerous driving habit. While the Three Strikes Bill is a good step towards decreasing the number of distracted driving on the road in theory, we need lawmakers to create a solution that is applicable in practice.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. is a personal injury law firm that works to help those injured in car accidents in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland areas. We offer free consultations, call us today to speak to one of our attorneys. 

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/dc-council-advances-three-strikes-distracted-driving-measure/2016/10/11/25a0fab8-8fd2-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html