Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: Why not ticket pickups with high bumpers?

Dodge logo from a pickup in 2014.
Dodge logo from a pickup in 2014. AP

Question: I have seen many pickup trucks with after-market lift kits that far exceed the maximum bumper height standards of 26 to 30 inches in our state. Some of these lifted trucks have bumper heights that are even above the windowsill height of our Subaru Forester SUV. Clearly if one of these vehicles were to T-bone us at an intersection, the federally required safety door intrusion beams would be of no protection whatsoever as these bumpers would hit our driver and passenger windows.

Why are the Bellingham Police not ticketing the owners of these lifted trucks and enforcing the bumper height regulations in Washington state?

Answer: You are correct, there are people who will “lift” their vehicle and violate the maximum bumper height standards. I do know that the Bellingham Police enforce the bumper height regulations, but again it comes down to them needing to see the violation and take action.

The traffic code has many variables in the way it is written that makes it more difficult for the patrol officer to stay current with some of the less-well-known violations. This usually means that the enforcement of these laws will fall to the traffic unit, which is much smaller than the overall patrol force.

Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who serves on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to