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Traffic Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

When can I turn left on a red light?

From a one-way to a one-way or from a two-way to a one-way road, after making a complete stop at the intersection.

What do I do if I see flashing emergency lights behind me?

You should "move to the right when there are sirens and lights." Make sure you turn on your signal so emergency personnel know your intentions, and move to your right slowly and safely. Do not stop in the middle of the street unless traffic has you blocked in!

If I get into a car accident, is it all right to move my vehicle out of the way of traffic?

Yes: The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person or damage to other property must move the vehicle as soon as possible off the roadway or freeway main lanes, shoulders, medians, and adjacent areas to a location on an exit ramp shoulder, the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location. The driver shall remain at the suitable location until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (3) of this section. Moving the vehicle in no way affects fault for an accident. If the damage is $1000.00 or less the involved drivers shall give his or her name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number, and vehicle license number. Each drive shall exchange the appropriate information.

 Do I have to wear a bicycle helmet in the City of Renton?

Yes! The city adopted the helmet law in 1999. You can be cited for not wearing this safety equipment.

Can a driver be ticketed for having their music too loud or having a loud muffler?

Yes: Any sound from a motor vehicle audio system or portable audio equipment such as a radio, tape player or compact disc player which is operated at such a volume that it interferes with conversation or which causes vibrations to be felt from a distance of seventy five feet (75') or more from the source of the sound. MUFFLERS: Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise, and no person shall use a muffler cut-out, bypass, or similar device upon a motor vehicle on a highway. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the engine of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle.

If an intersection has two right turn lanes, can I turn right from either lane on a red light?

No, only the lane closet the curb is allowed to make a right turn on a red light.

How far can I travel in a center turn lane? Can I use the center lane to pass other cars to get into a left turn lane at an intersection?

You can travel up to 300 feet in a left turn lane. You can not pass any other vehicles in the center lane. If you are using the center lane to access a left turn lane and pass other vehicles at that time, you are in violation.

When do I have to stop for a school bus: You must stop when meeting a school bus that has its red flashers and stop sign displayed in either direction on all roadways prior to the school bus unless you are on a divided highway or you are traveling in the opposite direction of the stopped bus on a highway with 3 or more marked lanes.

Who has the right of way:
This can be a tricky question depending on the circumstances; roadway lanes, traffic signal, stop sign, posted signs-traffic control devices, opposite positions, left or right turns. Authorized person(s) directing traffic.

Stop Sign: When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

Turns for opposing directions:
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

U-Turns: The driver of any vehicle shall not turn such vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction unless such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic.

Red Arrow: Means you can only turn that direction. Otherwise the same rules apply like a solid red.
Power outages-Nonfunctioning signals: Except when directed to proceed by a flagger, police officer, or firefighter, the driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal that is temporarily without power on all approaches or is not displaying any green, red, or yellow indication to the approach the vehicle is on, shall consider the intersection to be an all-way stop. After stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way accordingly.

The traffic camera flashed at me: The traffic cameras flash while taking a picture(s) of a possible violation. If you see a flash and have not violated either a school speed zone-20mph or you came to a complete stop then you will not receive a notice/ticket.

I lost my ticket: If this ticket was a Camera ticket or issued by Renton Police within the city limits of Renton please contact the Renton Municipal Courts at 1055 S Grady Way floor 3 or by phone at 425-430-6550.

Can I get speed bumps in my neighborhood for speeding vehicles?
This is not something the police have access or authority to implement. There is a lengthy process through traffic engineering, traffic operations, traffic studies, vehicle volume, vehicle speed, road structure, area, parking etc.  

General Information

If I move, do I need to notify the Department of Licensing of my new address?

Yes, you have 10 days to notify them of your new address. Failure to do so is an infraction.

Email the Traffic Unit