Aggressive Legal Help

Is it legal to pass on the right in Washington?

Is it ever ok to pass on the right?

We see this issue arise a lot in our daily driving. You’re on a two lane road – one lane in each direction – and the car in front of you is turning left. Traffic is heavy and so you’re stuck waiting for them to complete their left turn. Can you legally sneak over to the right to get around the turning vehicle in front of you?

Yes, you can, but in limited circumstances:

  1. The car you are passing must be making a left turn, AND
  2. The paved roadway must be wide enough for two lines of vehicles, AND
  3. You must be on the roadway – not the shoulder.

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Rules for overtaking on the right.
What is a roadway?

Are Unmarked Police Cars Illegal?

We get this question a lot.  The relevant RCW states that all law enforcement cars must be marked EXCEPT those being used for special undercover or confidential investigative purposes. 

There is another part of the RCW that fully exempts State Patrol traffic control vehicles at the discretion of the State Patrol chief.

So what does that all mean?  Simply put – yes, you can get a ticket from an officer driving an unmarked car.

Want to know more? 

Look up RCW 46.08.065.

Photo Tickets – Washington vs. Oregon

Ever get a photo ticket in Washington? We get calls every week from clients wondering if a Washington photo ticket – speeding or red light – will go on their driving record. The answer in Washington is no.

The driver is never identified during the picture taking – our Washington tickets are tied to the registered owner of the vehicle. They are like parking tickets and do not appear on your DOL abstract. RCW 46.63.170(2)

But as you head out on your summer driving, know that some photo tickets in Oregon DO go on your driving record and could therefore have a big impact on your insurance rates.  For example, Portland adopted a fixed photo radar system in their High Speed Network of 30 streets which is overseen by police officers.

Each camera takes pictures of the car, the driver and other key details.  The data is reviewed by a police officer for identification before an infraction is issued.

If you’re traveling 11+ miles over the limit and the reviewing officer confirms identity, an infraction is mailed to the registered owner.  The registered owner is presumed to be the driver.  If you were not actually driving the car, it’s your job to prove you weren’t – a “rebuttable presumption”.

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Infractions You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

As you head out on the roads this summer, keep this infraction in mind – you can be pulled over in Washington for driving continuously in the fast lane.

Generally, unless you are passing, you don’t want to camp in that left lane.  The full text of the law is contained at RCW 46.61.100(2).

And if you’re heading out towing your trailer, you cannot drive in left lane on multi-lane highways. RCW 46.61.100(3).

Here’s another infraction you might not be aware of: it’s a $136 fine to hand an officer your registration if it’s not signed. RCW 46.16a.180.

Sounds crazy, we know, but we’ve had many clients cited for this over the years once they are pulled over for speeding.

Take a minute and have all registered vehicle owners sign your registration!

School Bus Safety – When To Stop

The stopping requirements for school buses are always confusing.  But here’s a simple way to remember when you see a bus with red lights flashing:

            • Two lane road? Traffic in both directions must stop

            • Three lanes or more? Only stop if you’re going the same direction as the bus

And most importantly – the universal turn lane counts as one of the three lanes.

Want to know more? 

Look up RCW 46.61.370

Will A 5-over Ticket Raise My Insurance Rates?

People often ask us if a single ticket will raise their rates.  The answer is a resounding yes. And if you think insurance rates are going up and up…well, you’re right.

In 2012, compiled data from 490,000 policy quotes and found that a ticket for traveling between 1-14 miles over the limit resulted in an average premium increase of 11%.

Even more surprising is that just released new data for January 2019. Now a ticket for 1-14 over will result in an average increase of 20%.

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