Written by Stryder Wegener
When you think of moving violations, your first thought may be speeding or running a red light. Those are two common moving violations in Washington. However, under Washington’s vehicle code, there are a number of other reasons a police officer may ticket you for, including a failure to maintain lane. To learn what it means to be ticketed for a lane violation and the consequences you face, call a traffic attorney at Emerald City Law Group today at 206-973-0407 to schedule a free, initial consultation.
Failure to Maintain Lane in Washington
Washington has a number of laws regarding how you must use the lanes on marked roads. The most fundamental of these rules is Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.140: driving on roadways laned for traffic. Under this statute, whenever you are on a road that has been divided into two or more lanes, then you must:
- Drive within a single lane and not move from your lane until you have determined you can do so safely
- When there are three lanes of traffic and one allows for two-way traffic, you must not drive in the center lane except to pass another vehicle moving in the same direction, when the center lane is marked exclusively for traffic moving in the same direction as you, or to prepare to turn left
- Obey any official traffic control devices erected that instruct you to move in a specific lane or at a slower speed
- Obey any official traffic control devices prohibiting you from changing lanes
The gist of this multifaceted law is that you should use lanes appropriately and change lanes not only when it is lawful, but also only when it is safe to do so. If a law enforcement officer watches you violate any provision of this law, then you can be ticketed.
Keeping to the Right
Under RCW 46.61.100, you are required to drive on the right side of the road except in certain situations, including:
- When you are overtaking and passing another vehicle moving in the same direction
- When an obstruction in the road requires you to do so
- When a three-lane road has a lane marked for two-way traffic
- On a street marked for one-way traffic
- On a three-lane road when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle, a tow truck or other vehicle with warning lights providing roadside assistance, a police car, or a stationary or slow-moving highway construction, maintenance, or utility vehicle
If a police officer sees you driving on the wrong side of the road, you could be stopped and ticketed for your failure to maintain lane.
If you are on the highway, you should drive in the right lane as well. However, there are exceptions to the rule. You can drive on the left when you are moving faster than the flow of traffic, to pass, to allow other vehicles to merge, to prepare to turn left, and if you are lawfully using the high occupancy vehicle/carpool lane. If you are found driving on the left lane of a highway without one of these factors being true, you could be ticketed.
The Price of a Lane Violation Ticket
If you are ticketed for violating a lane-related rule of the road, you may face a high fine. The amount depends on the underlying violation the county in which you were ticketed. You may also have to pay additional fees, court costs, and attorney’s expenses.
The initial cost of the ticket may not seem like a big deal, which might lead you to simply pay the fee and not fight it. Yet, a moving violation remains on your driving record for three years, influencing your auto insurance rates the entire time.
Let a Seattle Traffic Attorney Help You with a Failure to Maintain Lane Ticket
If you have been ticketed with a moving or lane violation, call Emerald City Law Group today. We can represent you in fighting your ticket by requesting either a mitigation hearing or contested hearing. Whatever your situation, we will guide you through the court process and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.