Are Speed Traps Legal In Washington State?

There are a few places around the Tri-Cities and Washington State where you'll discover a speed trap. 395 in Kennewick where the speed drops to 35 MPH is one such speed trap.

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Do Police Need To Be Seen For A Speed Trap In Washington State?

It might surprise you to learn that there are three "legal" speed traps that police can set up and if you're caught, they'll write you a ticket for speeding even if you think you don't deserve a ticket.

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Does Washington State Police Have To Have Running Lights On In The Dark?

One thing I thought was fact, I can't seem to find any Washington Law that verifies it, is that a stopped patrol car in the dark has to have its running lights on.

I discovered in the state of Washington that a patrol car can be completely dark and still cite you for speeding. No law on the books prevents a police officer from giving you a ticket even if their lights are off in the dark.

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Can I Protest A Ticket Because Of A Speed Trap In Washington State?

There are three-speed traps that are perfectly legal in the state of Washington.

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What's An Illegal Speed Trap In Washington State?

The Washington State Patrol has posted on their website a "Rules Of The Road" guide to help you navigate Washington State traffic laws.

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Beware,  3 Types Of Speed Traps Are Legal In Washington State

According to Washington state law, there are three types of “speed traps” permitted, including measured courses, speed measuring devices, and timing from aircraft.

A speed trap is defined as a particular section of or distance on any public highway, the length of which has been or is measured off or otherwise designated or determined, and the limits of which are within the vision of any officer or officers who calculate the speed of a vehicle passing through such speed trap by using the elapsed time during which such vehicle travels between the entrance and exit of such speed trap.

Speed traps defined, certain types permitted—Measured courses, speed measuring devices, timing from aircraft.

(1) No evidence as to the speed of any vehicle operated upon a public highway by any person arrested for violation of any of the laws of this state regarding speed or of any orders, rules, or regulations of any city or town or other political subdivision relating thereto shall be admitted in evidence in any court at a subsequent trial of such person in case such evidence relates to or is based upon the maintenance or use of a speed trap except as provided in subsection
(2) of this section. A "speed trap," within the meaning of this section, is a particular section of or distance on any public highway, the length of which has been or is measured off or otherwise designated or determined, and the limits of which are within the vision of any officer or officers who calculate the speed of a vehicle passing through such speed trap by using the elapsed time during which such vehicle travels between the entrance and exit of such speed trap.
(2) Evidence shall be admissible against any person arrested or issued a notice of a traffic infraction for a violation of any of the laws of this state or of any orders, rules, or regulations of any city or town or other political subdivision regarding speed if the same is determined by a particular section of or distance on a public highway, the length of which has been accurately measured off or otherwise designated or determined and either: (a) The limits of which are controlled by a mechanical, electrical, or another device capable of measuring or recording the speed of a vehicle passing within such limits; or (b) a timing device is operated from an aircraft, which timing device when used to measure the elapsed time of a vehicle passing over such a particular section of or distance upon a public highway, indicates the speed of a vehicle.
(3) The exceptions of subsection (2) of this section are limited to devices or observations with a maximum error of not to exceed five percent using the lapsed time during which such vehicle travels between such limits, and such limits shall not be closer than one-fourth mile.
As you can see, there are three distinct ways that WSP can run a speed trap, and it's perfectly legal to do so.
At least now you know, the next time you encounter a speed trap, it's 100% legal in Washington State as defined by those 3-speed traps, and any past notion that the patrol car needs running lights on or to be in plain sight is a fallacy.

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