Improper use of turn signals and hazard lights can lead to collisions on highways and local roads, but it can also lead to tickets, fines, and other penalties.

Penalties for Misusing Turn Signals, Hazards, and Other Vehicle Lights

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Washington has over 30 laws governing the condition and use of vehicle lighting systems. Despite these laws, however, many motorists continue to misuse their vehicles lights, in particular, their turn signals and hazard lights. Doing so not only puts these drivers at risk for causing collisions, but also for traffic tickets and fines as well. Some potential legal consequences for misusing your lights include:

  • Traffic tickets. The failure to properly use your turn signals or misuse your hazards can be grounds for a moving violation.
  • Parking tickets. Using your hazard lights to justify illegal parking will not convince an officer to not give you a ticket. In fact, he may even add violations for the misuse of the lights in addition to the parking infraction.
  • Emergency delay fines. If the use of your hazards directly affected the ability of an emergency vehicle to quickly navigate or drive through an area, you could be subject to a fine exceeding $1,000 and possible further legal action.

In addition to paying fines for these violations, you could incur the following penalties to your driver’s license:

  • Points. If a police officer determines that your misuse of turn signals or hazard lights resulted in reckless driving, you will incur mandatory points on your license.
  • License revocation. The more points you acquire, the more you risk having your license revoked and your insurance rates increase.

If your misuse of lights results in an accident injury or traffic fatality, you could face civil or criminal prosecution, as follows:

  • Injury and damage charges. If your light abuse resulted in an accident where the victim was seriously hurt or suffered monetary damages, you may find yourself summoned to a hearing to discuss potential compensation.
  • Manslaughter charges. If your illegal use of the lights directly resulted in a fatal accident or the delay of emergency vehicles which led to increased injury or death, you may be subject to vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charges.

Attorney Andrew Kim Cares About Your Safety

The legal team at the Andrew Kim Law Firm provides this safety information because we care about preventing accidents in the Bellevue and Seattle areas. If you are the victim of another driver’s mistake or negligence, we are here to help you get justice.

Category: Car Accidents


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