Traffic Safety Laws in Washington

Helmet Laws


Helmets are required, regardless of age.


Helmet laws vary with each municipality.



Headlights must be turned on:

  • A 30 minutes after sunset until at least 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • When visibility, due to extreme weather conditions, becomes limited and you cannot see people or vehicles from 1,000 ft away.


Headlights are to be used at all times while in motion on a highway.

Electronic Devices and Texting

Electronic device restrictions:

  • All drivers, regardless of age, are banned from using hand-held electronic device.
  • All learner permit and intermediate license holders are banned from all electronic device use.

Texting restrictions:

  • All drivers are banned from texting while behind the wheel.

Child Car Seat

  • Children under 2 years old must be in a rear-facing car seat unless they exceed the height or weight limits of the manufactures guide lines.  
  • Children who exceed the rear-facing manufactures seat limitations can ride in a front-facing car seat.
  • Kids less than 8 years old must be secured in a front-facing car seat or booster seat unless the child is 4 ft 9 in or taller and the seat belt fits correctly.
  • Kids older than 8 years old or taller than 4 ft 9 in must ride with a secure seat belt. If the seat belt does not fit correctly the child must remain in a child restraint regardless of height or weight
  • Children under the age of 13 years old should ride in the backseat.

Before buying a child safety seat, review our How to Buy a Child Safety Seat article. It is important to follow the manufacturers' instructions when using child car seats.

Reporting Drunk or Dangerous Drivers

If you suspect a driver of being a road-menace, dial 911. Provide as much information as possible, including the vehicle's location and direction, license plate number and make and model. Do not attempt to stop the suspected vehicle on your own.

Unattended Kids in Vehicles

It is a misdemeanor to leave any child under 16 years old unattended in a standing vehicle with the engine running. Any subsequent violations will result in having your license revoked.

If you suspect an unattended child in a vehicle of being in danger contact the local police department.

Unattended Pets in Vehicles

If you suspect that an unattended pet left inside a vehicle is exhibiting signs of heat stress, contact either the police or an animal care unit.

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