Washington Rating: Good

traffic-greenWashington is significantly advanced towards adopting all of  Advocates’ recommended optimal laws, as reported in the 2019 Roadmap Report.

Highway Safety Laws Needed

  • GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDL – Nighttime Restriction Provision
  • GDL – Passenger Restriction Provision
  • GDL – Age 18 for Unrestricted License

Current Optimal Highway Safety Laws

  • Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front & Rear)
  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
  • Booster Seat Law
  • GDL – 6-Month Holding Period Provision
  • GDL – 30-50 Hours Supervised Driving Provision
  • GDL – Cell Phone Restriction Provision
Ignition Interlock Law
  • Child Endangerment Law
  • Open Container Law
All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction
Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law

*States are credited with having laws only if their laws meet Advocates’ optimal criteria

Hot Now: Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

In 2017, 70  people were killed in crashes involving young drivers in Washington.

The current GDL law in Washington includes the following components:

  • A three-stage licensing system beginning at age 15 for learner’s permit, age 16 for the intermediate stage, and age 17 for full licensure
  • A mandatory 6 month holding period for the learner’s permit stage
  • A minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving during the learner’s permit stage, at least 10 of which must be at night
  • A prohibition on unsupervised nighttime driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during the intermediate stage (secondary enforcement)
  • A passenger restriction prohibiting passengers younger than age 20 for the first six months after licensure and prohibiting more than three passengers younger than age 20 for the next six months after licensure (secondary enforcement)
  • A prohibition on non-emergency use of hand-held cell phones for all drivers and a prohibition on non-emergency use of hands-free cell phones during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages
  • A prohibition on texting while driving for all drivers

These changes are needed to improve Washington’s GDL law and meet optimal GDL provisions:

  • Require age 16 for entry into the learner’s permit stage
  • Extend all restrictions on teen drivers through age 17
  • Strengthen the passenger restriction to prohibit more than one non-familial passenger under the age of 21 unless a licensed driver over age 21 is in the vehicle, for the entire intermediate stage through age 17
  • Add a nighttime teen driving restriction

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