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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    6

    Default Is Passing a Defense to Speeding, 38 MPH Over the Limit

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Washington (WA)

    I received my ticket while passing a single vehicle going under the posted limit in a passing zone with no oncoming traffic at the time I began to pass. Not paying attention to speed, I accelerated to get around the vehicle and as I began to merge back into the right lane, the officer crested the next hill, took my speed reading, turned around and pulled me over. At no point was I ever across a double yellow line.

    Here is a copy of my infraction received during discovery:



    Here is the statement I received:



    I have a court date scheduled for next week. Is there anything I can do about this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    9,858

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    93 is not likely to be considered as having a "reasonable margin of safety" for speed.
    You also do not need to be going twice the speed of a car to pass it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    Ironically enough I was so focused on getting past the vehicle that I had no idea that I was going that fast until I saw the officer crest the hill in front of me.

    I believe that had I been doing double the speed limit I would've been charged with Reckless...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    9,858

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    I didn't say double the speed limit, I said double the speed of the car which by your own assertion (trying to invoke 46.61.425) was going less than 55. Frankly, I'm surprised you were charged with more, but perhaps the cop was feeling charitable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    Actually, according to the officer's statement he clocked the other car at 53mph... Not that much slower than the speed limit. And that may be because he slowed down to allow the OP to pass.

    Then again, this is Washington State... They'll find something...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
    Posts
    1,203

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    Passing in a legal passing zone where there is only ONE lane of travel in either direction is THE only time it is legal to exceed the posted speed limit in Washington State. Also, the law is not specific by how much you may exceed the limit in this situation. See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.425

    That said, on 542 there is only one lane in either direction - this cop needs to get a clue.

    The interesting part here is that because you meet the other criteria for having legally initiated a pass (single lane in either direction, started and ended pass in a legal passing zone), so you have an absolute defense because the officer establishes the speed of the vehicle being passed at UNDER the speed limit. The only thing you must establish is that you slowed to the speed limit or under after your pass was completed, within a reasonable timeframe. Such as 200 feetish.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,727

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    Quote Quoting Speedy Gonzalez
    View Post
    Passing in a legal passing zone where there is only ONE lane of travel in either direction is THE only time it is legal to exceed the posted speed limit in Washington State. Also, the law is not specific by how much you may exceed the limit in this situation. See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.425

    That said, on 542 there is only one lane in either direction - this cop needs to get a clue.

    The interesting part here is that because you meet the other criteria for having legally initiated a pass (single lane in either direction, started and ended pass in a legal passing zone), so you have an absolute defense because the officer establishes the speed of the vehicle being passed at UNDER the speed limit. The only thing you must establish is that you slowed to the speed limit or under after your pass was completed, within a reasonable timeframe. Such as 200 feetish.

    Do the courts not have the ability to determine if the speed itself was actually necessary as the law states?



    (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law: PROVIDED, That a person following a vehicle driving at less than the legal maximum speed and desiring to pass such vehicle may exceed the speed limit, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.120 on highways having only one lane of traffic in each direction, at only such a speed and for only such a distance as is necessary to complete the pass with a reasonable margin of safety.
    Using your argument, I could drive 200 mph while passing a car as long as I reduced my speed once I pulled back into the proper lane. Are you suggesting that is what the laws intent was?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    JK, Speedy is right. However, if you can drive the speed limit approaching another car driving BELOW the speed limit, pass that car at 200 MPH, pull back in, and slow to the speed limit, go for it -- your car is much more macho than mine.

    The point is that the "speed" you travel and the distance that you travel at that speed must be "necessary" to complete the pass "with a reasonable margin of safety". You might argue that: if you need to pass at such a high rate of speed to pass safely, you should have waited. But, that's not what the law says, nor requires.

    On another note, this is one of those situations where an "expert" on RADAR would be really helpful. The "fastest" mode of a RADAR does NOT distinguish how far away the target is. The Bee III has a range of 4,000 feet. The fastest moving target in that range will be displayed on the "fastest" window of the RADAR. In order to establish that YOURS was the vehicle being "clocked", the officer SHOULD have mentioned that: As the defendant's vehicle passed the other vehicle, the speed in the "fastest" window replaced the speed in the "target" window -- verifying that the defendant's vehicle was, indeed, the vehicle that originally appeared in the "fastest" window. Since the officer failed to indicate that, we must assume that the vehicle in the "fastest" window was still up to 4,000 feet away, as car 1's speed was still in the "target" window.

    Unfortunately, that requires "expert" testimony to get that kind of information introduced into evidence.

    Barry
    Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,727

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    blewis;704430]JK, Speedy is right. However, if you can drive the speed limit approaching another car driving BELOW the speed limit, pass that car at 200 MPH, pull back in, and slow to the speed limit, go for it -- your car is much more macho than mine.
    well, maybe I exaggerated a bit. Nothing over 180.

    It wasn't that I was arguing necessarily other than the statute appears to limit the speed to "necessary". More of a devil's advocate position than disagreeing.

    Considering how many courts work, I was wondering if there is not a way the cop or courts to claim the OP's speed was not necessary and therefor, not legally allowed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: 93 in a 55 to Pass a Single Car in a Passing Zone

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    well, maybe I exaggerated a bit. Nothing over 180.
    OK, I take it back -- you've got a wimp car!

    Barry
    Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?

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