Question: I live off Grandview Road. Tractor-trailers traveling east to Interstate 5 are using their exhaust compression brakes, which is extremely noisy, particularly in the evening. What is the law concerning this behavior and is there a noise ordinance against this?
Answer: I did not find any RCW prohibiting the use of "exhaust compression brakes." I did not find a Whatcom County ordinance prohibiting the use of compression brakes. I did find that a number of cities have local ordinances prohibiting the use of compression brakes within the city limits. Depending upon where people live, there may be an ordinance to cover it.
Q: Is it legal or safe to offer or yield the right of way to another driver who does not have it?
A: I do not know of any laws that prohibit you yielding the right of way to a driver, even if he does not have it. As to the safety of doing so, it can create confusion among other drivers. You occasionally will see this when you allow someone to pull onto a roadway only to have them be struck by a vehicle passing you in the next lane that did not see them pulling out.
Q: There is a place on our street where there should be a stop sign. How does one go about getting one placed?
A: You can try the public works department traffic engineers to ask them about placing a stop sign. They generally do a good job of placing stop signs where they are needed. They will be able to explain to you why they either haven't or won't put one there. The placement of signs is based on the Model Uniform Traffic Code that specifies all of the rules for signs, marking, speed limits, light timings, etc.
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David Wright is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.