D.C. Cellphone Driving Fines Top $1 Million

09/27/2011 08:11 am ET | Updated Nov 27, 2011

WASHINGTON -- It's been seven years since the District of Columbia enacted regulations banning the use of cellphones while driving without a hands-free device. And while there's been debate since then about whether D.C.'s law is effective, the total amount of fines in the past year has topped $1 million so far.

As the Washington Examiner reports this morning, the District has issued around 10,800 cellphone-driving infractions from a period that started Oct. 1 of last year and ended on Sept. 23. During the 2010 fiscal year, nearly 13,400 such tickets were issued -- that's roughly $1,105,000 in fines. From the Examiner:

The city does have some loopholes, though. Drivers can call 911 or 311, hospitals or first-aid providers in an emergency without pulling over. And first-time offenders can have the $100 fine suspended if they provide proof of purchasing a hands-free device before the fine is imposed, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

The city has dismissed 1,576 tickets this year, according to [D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles] data.

In addition to its cellphone-while-driving law, the District has a robust red-light and speed-camera enforcement program, which brought in more than $50 million in revenue in the 2010 fiscal year, according to a numbers from the AAA Mid-Atlantic cited by the Examiner earlier this month.

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