In late August, my girlfriend was driving on a typical NW gravel forest road in the Olympic National Forest near Quinault river. This gravel road is typical for rural and forest areas. It has no marked centerlane. It has one main lane of travel with room for two vehicles to pass when both vehicles move completely to the side. She was driving towards the left side where the road was smoother. As she neared a corner a National Park police came whipping around the corner. They both moved right. He was forced to brake hard and activate his ABS. My girlfriend was driving at a more prudent and reasonable speed and did not have to activate her ABS. (The officer states that he had to activate his ABS.) She moved around him with plenty of room, but he then light up his lights. She stopped and waited for him to turn around. The park police asked her why she was driving on the left side of the road. Attempting a little humor, she stated that she was driving to the right because it was smoother. (The statement of probable cause says she said... "she was driving on the left side of the roadway because it was smoother than the right side of the road and she was trying to get to a campground before dark.")
The officer then stated that he was going to give her a ticket for driving left of center. I think the officer was pissed that he had to slam on his brakes. I can personally remember numerous times where I've had to slam on my brakes and dive to the side of a gravel forest road when there is an oncoming vehicle in a corner.
He sited her under RCW 46.61.100 Keep Right Except When Passing for Driving Left of Center. However, if you look at RCW 46.61.125 (2) "...The foregoing limitations shall not apply upon a one-way roadway, nor under the conditions described in RCW 46.61.100(1)(b), nor to the driver of a vehicle turning left into or from an alley, private road or driveway."
She took a photo with a disposable camera. Not the greatest picture because it was getting dark. I does show the main lane of travel. I also noticed that the officer didn't have her sign the Violation Notice stating that she had received the ticket.
I think the prosecutions burden of proof will be tough. What do you think? What am I missing. Any advice or strategy? I haven't gone through a traffic court trial for years. Federal court is a strange beast. Anyone else gone through federal court traffic court?
She plead not guilty at the arraignment. Trial is next week. Any creative suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.