Valentine's Day Reminder

Posted by Scott A. Staples | Feb 18, 2020

With Valentine's Day approaching fast, I thought it would be wise to remind all of our Washington-driver lovebirds out there about the legal requirement that they save their affections for non-driving situations. Brad Thayer touched on this a while back here as part of his review of interesting statutes.

RCW 46.61.665 prohibits “embracing another while driving”.  It is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle “when such person has in his or her embrace another person which prevents the free and unhampered operation of such vehicle.”  A violation of the statute can serve as prima facie evidence of reckless driving. 

A quick bit of research reveals no case law in Washington interpreting what constitutes an “embrace”, and the statute does not define the term.  Better stay on the safe side, though, and limit yourself to gentle pats on the shoulder of your driver-partner until the vehicle is parked!

About the Author

Scott A. Staples

Scott Staples came on board in 2006 as a clerk during law school, and joined the firm as an associate attorney in 2007. He was made a shareholder in the firm in 2010. Scott graduated, cum laude, from Washington State University Vancouver with a BA in English, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law, with cum laude honors there as well. He has successfully represented clients in a variety of different types of injury cases, including auto collisions, premises liability, animal attacks, watercraft accidents, and construction site injuries. He has appeared, and won, before the Washington State Supreme Court (Weismann v. Safeco, 2012). Scott has volunteered time for the past several years at the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Housing Justice Project. He has previously served on the new member and membership committees for the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), and has acted as chair and co-chair of the WSAJ Clark County Roundtable. He is a member of the Washington and Oregon State Bar Associations, WSAJ and OTLA (state trial lawyer organizations), and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington and Oregon. Scott was born and raised in Vancouver, attending Vancouver public schools and graduating from Hudson's Bay High School. He enjoys playing recreational basketball and softball, skiing, and spending time with his wife and three children.

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