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  1. #1
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    Default Ticketed for Driving Too Closely While Following at 30 - 40 Feet

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Washington.

    So I got a ticket for from a WSP unit for "driving too closely" while about 30-40 feet behind another car.

    I went to court several days ago and I was apparently found guilty, so I subpoenaed the officer.
    How do I fight this?

    The judge brought out a driver's manual and told me something about a "one one-thousandths, two one-thousandths", etc...

    I'm unaware of why I'm actually guilty of this..

    Some details:
    Highway, clear weather, 48mph in 50 to prevent from easing onto car infront, poor driving record.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    Let's start with the statute:

    RCW 46.61.145 Following too closely.
    (1) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.


    Take a look at the following chart (scroll down the page):

    http://www.csgnetwork.com/stopdistinfo.html

    About the only way a distance of 30' to 40' would be reasonably and prudent would be if you were travelling 10 mph to 15 mph.

    At higher speeds you would not have "due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway" and would be guilty of the infraction.

    The judge referred to the "two second rule" which you can read about at:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-second_rule

    Try it next time you are out driving.

    The "three second rule" is even safer:

    http://www.driversedguru.com/driving...distance-rule/

    Since you've already been found guilty (there's no "apparently" about it) your next step is to file an appeal if you want to.

    There are some people here who are familiar with WA traffic citations and might be able to give you some tips.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Let's start with the statute:

    RCW 46.61.145 Following too closely.
    (1) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.


    Take a look at the following chart (scroll down the page):

    http://www.csgnetwork.com/stopdistinfo.html

    About the only way a distance of 30' to 40' would be reasonably and prudent would be if you were travelling 10 mph to 15 mph.

    At higher speeds you would not have "due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway" and would be guilty of the infraction.

    The judge referred to the "two second rule" which you can read about at:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-second_rule

    Try it next time you are out driving.

    The "three second rule" is even safer:

    http://www.driversedguru.com/driving...distance-rule/

    Since you've already been found guilty (there's no "apparently" about it) your next step is to file an appeal if you want to.

    There are some people here who are familiar with WA traffic citations and might be able to give you some tips.
    Firstly, thank you for the explanation and references.
    Assuming that I were to file for an appeal, what's the best and worst that could happen?

    And what happens if the state patrol officer does not show up? Also, how likely is it that they will/will not?

    Secondly, could it be argued that because a standard for what is "reasonable and prudent" isn't stated in the stature? How about the driver's manual being a guideline rather than set laws?
    Could it be argued that the drivers manual suggestion could just be a general rule of thumb such as addressing the judge as "your honour"?

    I haven't deferred any tickets, so could that be a potential option here?

    Oh and finally, are there any fees assuming I lose?
    Would it just be best to pay off the ticket?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    Quote Quoting qmqz
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    Assuming that I were to file for an appeal, what's the best and worst that could happen?
    Best: You win and the ticket gets reversed.
    Worst: You lose and it doesn't.

    Quote Quoting qmqz
    View Post
    And what happens if the state patrol officer does not show up?
    Depends on whether an appeal is a new trial or just an appeal for judicial error:

    An appeal from a court of limited jurisdiction is governed by the Rules
    for Appeal of Decisions of Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. Under RALJ 1.1
    the appeal from some courts is an appeal for error on the record, and the
    appeal from other courts is conducted as a trial de novo. The procedures
    for an appeal for error on the record are defined by RALJ. The procedures
    for a trial de novo are defined by CRLJ 73 and 75.


    A trial de novo would require the officer to testify again. An appeal for error would probably not.

    Quote Quoting qmqz
    View Post
    Also, how likely is it that they will/will not?
    The officer would almost certainly show up. That's part of his job. If some emergency prevents that the state is likely to just get a postponement.

    Quote Quoting qmqz
    View Post
    Secondly, could it be argued that because a standard for what is "reasonable and prudent" isn't stated in the statute? How about the driver's manual being a guideline rather than set laws?
    Could it be argued that the drivers manual suggestion could just be a general rule of thumb such as addressing the judge as "your honor"?
    Yes, all of that could be argued but probably not successfully. Following too closely is dangerous.

    Quote Quoting qmqz
    View Post

    I haven't deferred any tickets, so could that be a potential option here?
    I don't know the WA procedures for deferring a ticket. Probably should have been addressed at your trial or before.

    Quote Quoting qmqz
    View Post

    Oh and finally, are there any fees assuming I lose?
    There's probably a filing fee. Might also cost you some for a transcript of the trial. I don't know about anything else.

    Quote Quoting qmqz
    View Post

    Would it just be best to pay off the ticket?
    Up to you.

    Check this thread later and see if any of our WA participants check in with some advice.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    I appreciate your helpfulness and will check up on the thread when I wake up.
    I'm not entirely concerned about the price, just the points on my license.

    Regardless, thank you once more.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    An appeal of a traffic infraction from a Court of Limited Jurisdiction is to the county's Superior Court and is ALWAYS "on the record". The appeal costs about $220 - 240. It must be filed within 30 days of the judgment.

    WA state does NOT have a "point" system.

    On appeal, you must show that the court "erred" -- committed a mistake -- such as overruling an objection that should have been granted or allowing something into evidence that should have been excluded.

    If you win, your original ticket is dismissed, your fine will be returned. You will NOT recover your appeal fee.

    Several states have made the "2 second rule" part of their law. I like that because it is quantifiable and measurable. "Reasonable and prudent" and other such terms are "in the eyes of the beholder" and are different for every person.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    Quote Quoting jojo
    View Post
    An appeal of a traffic infraction from a Court of Limited Jurisdiction is to the county's Superior Court and is ALWAYS "on the record". The appeal costs about $220 - 240. It must be filed within 30 days of the judgment.

    WA state does NOT have a "point" system.

    On appeal, you must show that the court "erred" -- committed a mistake -- such as overruling an objection that should have been granted or allowing something into evidence that should have been excluded.

    If you win, your original ticket is dismissed, your fine will be returned. You will NOT recover your appeal fee.

    Several states have made the "2 second rule" part of their law. I like that because it is quantifiable and measurable. "Reasonable and prudent" and other such terms are "in the eyes of the beholder" and are different for every person.
    Oh boy, I'd rather just pay off the ticket...

    I recently got a notification paper from the DMV stating that if I kept up my poor driving, there would be consequences, and then I got this.
    I've driven the exact same distance before beside city police and they never even batted an eye, which is why this really confuses me.

    I thank you both for the help you've offered.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    Quote Quoting qmqz
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    Oh boy, I'd rather just pay off the ticket...I recently got a notification paper from the DMV stating that if I kept up my poor driving, there would be consequences, and then I got this.
    You should go to driving school if you are eligible. In light of that last sentence you need to change your driving habits for the better.

    Quote Quoting qmqz
    View Post

    I've driven the exact same distance before beside city police and they never even batted an eye, which is why this really confuses me.
    You break the law consistently and you're bound to get caught eventually.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    You should go to driving school if you are eligible. In light of that last sentence you need to change your driving habits for the better.



    You break the law consistently and you're bound to get caught eventually.
    I'll pass on that, thanks.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 30 Feet Away

    Jack, I've asked you before NOT to post when you don't know what you're talking about. There is NO "Traffic School" option, as a general rule, in WA. Several municipal jurisdictions (such as Kent) do offer traffic school, but it's up to the officer at the time s/he issues the citation. So, if it was not offered at the time of the citation, you're SOL.

    However, even though it won't help with this ticket, driving school may not be a bad idea for you -- since you obviously don't drive very well.

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