Can Uber or Lyft drivers stop wherever they want?

I know you have all been behind a car that you think is just a random car in Seattle only to find it abruptly stop and throw on its hazard lights. It is so frustrating to be behind what you think is a normal car only to find it stop in the middle of the road and you nearly get in a car accident because they are an Uber or Lyft driver dropping off or picking up a passenger. Is it legal for them to stop in the middle of the road wherever they want and nearly cause a car accident?

It is actually illegal for Uber and Lyft drivers to put on their hazard lights and stop in the middle of the road to allow passengers in or out of their car. This requires a fine and is a moving violation not a parking violation.

SMC 11.72.040 – Blocking or obstructing traffic—Occupied vehicle.

No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle and remain therein upon or along any street when traffic will be unreasonably obstructed. Violation of this section constitutes a moving traffic violation rather than a parking violation. (RCW 46.61.560)

How then can and should Uber and Lyft drivers let passengers in and out of their car? Uber and Lyft drivers should only let passengers out in designated load an unload areas in downtown Seattle. This is why these areas were created and why no one is allowed to park in these areas.

Some will point to RCW 6.61.560(3) as creating an exception for Uber drivers to use their hazard lights to drop off and load passengers. However, this subsection only applies to public transport and non profit organizations that transport disabled people. This subsection does not create an exception for Uber and Lyft which are for profit organization who are not primarily transporting disabled people.

RCW 6.61.560(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to the driver of a public transit vehicle who temporarily stops the vehicle upon the roadway for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers at a marked transit vehicle stop zone approved by the state department of transportation or a county upon highways under their respective jurisdictions. However, public transportation service providers, including private, nonprofit transportation providers regulated under chapter 81.66 RCW, may allow the driver of a transit vehicle to stop upon the roadway momentarily to receive or discharge passengers at an unmarked stop zone only under the following circumstances: (a) The driver stops the vehicle in a safe and practicable position; (b) the driver activates four-way flashing lights; and (c) the driver stops at a portion of the highway with an unobstructed view, for an adequate distance so as to not create a hazard, for other drivers.

Andrew CherinCan Uber or Lyft drivers stop wherever they want?