Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Traffic Law Myth Busted

Did you know that it's against the law to eat a lollipop or paint polka dots on the American flag in Washington? Oh, and you can forget about buying any more meat on Sunday. Supposedly, anyway.

We've all heard rumours about these types of "crazy laws" that are still somehow on "the books." While I think these laws are comical, ridiculous, and entertaining to hear about, I find myself wondering if they're really still in existence, or if they ever were.

I recently saw this ridiculous Washington law cited all over the internet:

All motor vehicles must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag (daytime) or a red lantern (nighttime) fifty feet in front of said vehicle.

Really? So, we're all supposed to be driving 2 miles per hour everywhere? Yikes.

Well, if this law happens to actually still be in existence, it's obviously not enforced. I don't recall ever being pulled over for not having a man carrying a red flag in front of me. But, as far as I can tell, it's not still in existence. Not one of the internet sources citing this supposed law cites a corresponding RCW (Revised Code of Washington) to support it.

RCW Title 46 deals with Motor Vehicles. Only one law (RCW 46.37.440) mentions flags and lanterns, but is there any mention of any man preceding any vehicle? Nope. This particular law only says that flags and lanterns must be carried in trucks in case of emergencies.

You can sleep easy now. I'm fairly certain that you won't be pulled over for not having a man fifty feet in front of you with a red flag/lantern. Phew.


  1. Thank-you for busting a "stupid law" myth!

    I searched the RCW to find the origin of the supposed law against painting polka dots on the frag but did not find anything.

    I think a lot of these "laws" are simply made up.

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