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Teen Driver Rules in Washington

Categories: Practical Tips You Can Use

By Richard H. Adler. Posted on .

CDC statistics show some scary facts about teenage drivers. Teen drivers are four times likelier to crash than older drivers.

Crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the car. Nearly two out of three teen crash deaths that involve 16-year-old drivers happen when a new driver has one or more teen passengers.  Washington has responded by putting some special rules in effect for drivers under 18:


  • For the first 6 months, you cannot drive with passengers under the age of 20 unless they are members of your immediate family (such as a spouse, child, stepchild, or siblings, both by birth and marriage).
  • For the next 6 months, you cannot carry more than 3 passengers who are under 20 years old who are not members of your immediate family.

Nighttime driving:

  • For the first 12 months, you cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless you are with a licensed driver age 25 or older. The only exception to this rule is if you drive for agricultural purposes, meaning you transport farm products or supplies under the direction of a farmer (See RCW 46.20.070).

Cell phones:

  • You aren’t permitted to use wireless devices while driving, even with a hands-free device. This includes talking on cell phones and sending or receiving text messages. You may only use a wireless device to report an emergency.

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