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Transportation

Road Services - Abandoned vehicles

How do I report an abandoned vehicle that is blocking traffic and causing an immediate roadway hazard?

If the vehicle is blocking a lane of traffic and causing an immediate roadway hazard in unincorporated King County, call the King County Sheriff’s Communication Center (non-emergency number) at 206-296-3311. (Do not call 911.) A deputy will be dispatched to confirm the hazard condition and take appropriate corrective action.

If the vehicle is blocking traffic on a portion of a road and causing an immediate roadway hazard in a city located within King County, you will need to contact local law enforcement for that city. A list of police agency contact numbers can be found here.

How do I report an abandoned vehicle on the side of the road in the road right-of-way?

If the vehicle is on the side of the road in the road right-of-way in unincorporated King County, you should call the 24-hour Abandoned Vehicle Hotline at 206-205-0969. This is a recorded message and asks for location, description (color and make), license number and approximately how long the vehicle has been there. If you prefer to talk directly with a person, call the Sheriff's Communication Center (non-emergency number) at 206-296-3311.

If the vehicle is on the side of the road in a city located within King County, call Marilyn Nelson, King County Junk Vehicle Inspector, at 206-296-4437.

How do I report an abandoned vehicle on private property that I own?

If you wish to remove an abandoned vehicle on property that you own, you should call Marilyn Nelson, King County Junk Vehicle Inspector, at 206-296-4437 to assist with documents necessary to have it towed.

How do I report an abandoned vehicle on private property that someone else owns?

If the abandoned vehicle is on private property in unincorporated King County, please contact the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review 24-hour hot line at 1-888-437-4771 or use the online form.

If the abandoned vehicle is on private property within a city located within King County, contact that city and ask who handles those complaints. Some cities have code enforcement officers and others do not.

I abandoned my vehicle on the roadside and now it is gone. Who do I call to get it back?

In unincorporated King County or in a city which contracts with the King County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement, contact the King County Sheriff's Communication Center (non-emergency number) at 206-296-3311. For the list of those cities, go visit the King County Sheriff's Web site. If your city does not contract with the King County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement, use this list of police agency phone numbers to find contact information.

During weather related incidents such as snow and ice, flooding, or trees down, any vehicles found blocking the roadway, are subject to impound. Those vehicle owners should contact the Sheriff's Office at 206-296-3311 to see if their vehicle was impounded.

Your vehicle is very likely to be towed away if it is abandoned on a snow route or "lifeline" route which must be kept open for emergency response vehicles. To find out where the snow routes are in King County, check out the King County Snow and Ice Plan.

Why doesn't the Road Services Division handle abandoned cars?

Generally, the reason is that abandoned vehicles in the right-of-way are subject to the traffic code. Law enforcement agencies enforce the traffic code; transportation agencies build and maintain the roads. Also, regulations regarding when and how vehicles can be parked or stored on private property is generally subject to the building code which is under the jurisdiction of the land use agency.

Why shouldn't I call 911 about abandoned vehicles — mine or someone else's?

The 911 emergency communications system is intended for emergencies. Using 911 for non-emergency matters could mean busy signals for someone in real need of life or death assistance. Please call the appropriate numbers listed above.

Glossary

Visit our glossary for an explanation of common road terms and jargon.

Contact us

King County Road Services Division
Traffic and Road Maintenance Section
155 Monroe Ave. N.E.
Renton, WA 98056
206-296-8100
1-800-KCROADS (1-800-527-6237)
206-296-8198 (fax)

Information from the Road Services Division's website is available to people with disabilities in alternate formats upon request by calling 206-477-3839 or 711 for the TTY relay service.

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