Washington

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban all drivers
Young drivers all cellphone ban learner's permit and intermediate license holders
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 70;
Urban interstates (mph) 60
Other limited access roads (mph) 60
Other roads (mph) 60
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS FOR TRUCKS
Rural interstates (mph) 60
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 151
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night
Have a minimum age of 162
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions 1 a.m.-5 a.m. secondary enforcement
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
first 6 months—no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months—no more than 3 passengers younger than 20 secondary enforcement
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions 12 months or until age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 17)
Passenger restrictions 12 months or until age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 17)3
REGULAR LICENSING RENEWAL CYCLE
Length of regular renewal cycle 5 years
OLDER DRIVER SPECIAL LICENSING PROVISIONS
Accelerated renewal none
Other provisions none
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint 7 years and younger and less than 4'9"
Adult safety belt permissible 8 through 15; 7 years and younger and 4'9" or taller; children who weigh more than 40 pounds in a seating position where there is only a lap belt available
Maximum fine 1st offense $124
Seating preference 12 years and younger must be in rear seat if practical
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 06/11/86
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 07/01/02
Who is covered? In what seats? 16+ years in all seats
Maximum fine 1st offense $124
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? no
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered all riders
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law no law
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas no state law
Gaps in coverage no state law
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph
MEDIUM-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are medium-speed vehicles permitted? roads with a posted limit of 35 mph or less; roads with a posted limit of 45 mph or less in island counties connected only by ferry
What is the top speed permissible for medium-speed vehicles? 35 mph
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? cities and counties statewide at arterial road intersections with stoplights meeting MUTCD standards for yellow change intervals; local ordinance required
Violations red light
Citations issued to whom? registered owner
Who is liable? registered owner
What image is taken? vehicle, license tag
Traditional enforcement penalty $250 maximum fine
Auto enforcement penalties/record $250 maximum fine; no record; no points
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: SPEED CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? statewide in work zones and school zones with a local ordinance
Violations speed
Citations issued to whom? registered owner
Who is liable? registered owner
What image is taken? vehicle, license tag
Traditional enforcement penalty $250 maximum fine
Auto enforcement penalties/record fine up to the maximum for parking violations in the jurisdiction; no record; no points
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: RAIL CROSSINGS
Statewide or only specified locations? cities and counties statewide; local ordinance required
Violations rail crossing
Citations issued to whom? registered owner
Who is liable? registered owner
What image is taken? vehicle, license tag
Traditional enforcement penalty $250 maximum fine
Auto enforcement penalties/record fine up to the maximum for parking violations in the jurisdiction; no record; no points

1In Washington, permit applicants must be enrolled in driver education; otherwise, the minimum permit age is 15, 6 months.

2In Washington, driver education is required for license applicants younger than 18.

3In Washington, intermediate license holders with a crash or violation history are ineligible for an unrestricted license until age 18.