No hugging when driving? Five bizarre laws in Washington state


Whether you're from Washington or have never set foot in the Evergreen State, you might think you have America's most northwestern state all figured out. Despite any stereotypes or preconceived notions, Washington does have some legislation that'll make you question your understanding of the state.

Some of these laws were enacted at the turn of the 20th century, some have been updated over the years, but all are currently in the Revised Code of Washington.

Here are five of these peculiar statutes:

Weird laws only in Washington

No hugging while driving

The Revised Code of Washington goes over Rules of the Road for drivers on state highways. One of these prohibits "embracing another while driving." The rule went into effect in 1979 and has remained in the RCW since then.

"It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle upon the highways of this state when such person has in his or her embrace another person which prevents the free and unhampered operation of such vehicle," reads the state code.

Violation of this rule is considered prima facie evidence of reckless driving.

No abandoning fridges near children

It is a misdemeanor in Washington to abandon a fridge, icebox or deep freezer that is at least one and a half cubic feet in size anywhere children can access it. To avoid the charge when discarding a fridge, you can remove the door or part of the latch, so the door cannot be shut and locked.

The rule was first enacted in 1955 and has remained in the RCW.

No intimidation with a laser

Stand down, Walter White and associates — you cannot legally use a laser to intimidate or threaten someone in the Evergreen State. There are three degrees of unlawful laser discharge, made effective in 1999.

Among several other laser uses, it is considered second-degree unlawful laser discharge to knowingly and maliciously discharge a laser at someone to intimidate or threaten them. Violation of this rule is considered a gross misdemeanor.

No putting someone else's name on a petition

The criminal code of Washington prohibits misconduct in signing a petition. This includes, among other instances, writing someone else's name, even a fictional name, on a petition. The code went into effect in 1909 and was updated as recently as 2011.

Violation of this rule is considered a misdemeanor.

Harming a carrier or racer pigeon

Only the owner of a carrier or racing pigeon can injure, kill, maim, trap or detain their bird. To knowingly do so to someone else's carrier/racing pigeon is a Class 1 civil infraction. This law was enacted in 1987.

If you have any questions about how things work in Washington state, send your queries through the form below. The Evergreen State is full of curiosities, quirks and mysteries — and we want to hear what you are wondering about.