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AGO 1953 No. 63 - June 04, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

LICENSING ‑- VEHICLES IN EXCESS OF LEGAL WIDTH AND LENGTH ‑- WHETHER OR NOT SEATTLE TRANSIT BUSES IN EXCESS OF THE LEGAL WIDTH AND LENGTH REQUIREMENTS MAY BE LICENSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LICENSES

The Director of Licenses may issue licenses to Seattle transit buses in excess of the legal width and length requirements.

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                                                                    June 4, 1953

Honorable Della Urquhart
Director
Department of Licenses
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 63

Dear Mrs. Urquhart:

            We acknowledge receipt of your request for an opinion from this office relative to the licensing of Seattle transit buses which are in excess of the legal width and length requirements provided in 46.44.010 RCW and 46.44.030 RCW, respectively.

            In our opinion, the director of licenses may properly license these vehicles.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 46.44.010 provides that the total outside width of any vehicle or load thereon shall not exceed eight feet.  RCW 46.44.030 prohibits the operation by any person of any vehicle having an over-all [[overall]]length in excess of thirty-five feet.  RCW 46.44.090 provides in part:

            "* * * local authorities with respect to public highways under their jurisdiction may, upon application in writing and good cause being shown therefor, issue a special permit in writing authorizing the applicant to operate or move a vehicle * * * of a size, weight of vehicle or load exceeding the maximum specified in this chapter * * *

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "No overweight permit shall be issued to any vehicle * * * unless such vehicle * * *is licensed for the maximum gross weight allowed by law."  (Emphasis supplied).

            It is our opinion that the provisions of this chapter do not prohibit the director from licensing vehicles in excess of the legal width and length.  The statute cited,supra specifically provides as a condition precedent to the issuance of a special permit for overweight vehicles that the vehiclebe licensed for the maximum gross weight provided by law.  Although the issuance of the special permit is discretionary with the local authorities (RCW 46.44.093), in our opinion such a permit could not be issued for an unlicensed vehicle.

            RCW 46.16.010 provides that it shall be unlawful for a person to operateany vehicle over and along a public highway of this state without first having obtained and having in full force and effect a current and proper vehicle license and display the vehicle license number plates thereon.  "Public highway" includes every way, land, road, street, boulevard and way or place in the state open as a matter of right to public vehicular travel both inside and outside the limits of cities and towns.  RCW 46.04.430.

            Any vehicle owned by a city and used exclusively by it is exempt from the payment of license fees for the licensing thereof; but such vehicle shall be registered as prescribed for the license registration of vehicles and shall display upon the vehicles the vehicle license number plates assigned by the director, and shall pay for the numbered plates a fee of $1.00.  RCW 46.16.020.

            RCW 46.16.040 requires that application for an original vehicle license shall be made on a form furnished for the purpose by the director.  We find no express legislative prohibition against the licensing of vehicles in excess of the legal width and length provided in chapter 46.44 RCW, and in view of section 46.44.090 of that chapter, which specifically provides for the issuance of special permits at  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] the discretion of local authorities for such vehicles, we are of the opinion that the director may properly license these vehicles.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

PHYLLIS DOLVIN
Assistant Attorney General

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