Washington Driving and Traffic Laws


When you take your first driving test, you receive a driver’s manual that tells you all the rules of the road while you are driving in Washington. As years go by, you may have forgotten some of them and/or not been familiar with the consequences. Here are the major driving and traffic laws in effect in the state of Washington.

Driving under the influence -you are considered guilty if you register an alcohol level of 0.08 or higher after a two-hour period. This law also includes drug use and in either case is a felony. The appropriate punishment depends on your prior driving history.

Driving without a valid drivers license or a suspended license was a misdemeanor up until January 1, 2009. It is now considered a traffic infraction. Driving without proper liability insurance is also considered a traffic violation and subject to a fine. And you may be fined if you do not make a safe u-turn on the highways of Washington.

Depending on your driving history, reckless driving can get you a suspended license for 30 days or more and even imprisonment of up to one year. Going through a red light will get you a costly fine as will driving more than 25 miles per hour on city streets, 50 miles an hour on county roads or 60 miles on state highways.

More recent additions to the driving laws in Washington include the following: children under the age of 13 years old must ride in the back seat of the vehicle, and any child under 8 years old and is less than 4’ 9” must be secured in an approved child’s car seat.

You must make sure that if you are traveling with any kind of load in your vehicle on the public roads in Washington that it is safely secured.

As of January 2008, cell phone use is limited to ear pieces only – no texting or holding the phone to your ear while driving unless you are reporting any type of emergency.

And lastly, if you see flashing lights ahead and it is a police officer who has pulled someone over, you must pull into the next available lane, or if one is not available, slow down to a safe speed until you are passed the incident. More police officers are killed in during routine stops as passing motorists fail to accommodate the officer.