Washington Road Safety Bills Fail to Advance

Even as traffic deaths in Washington state rise sharply, the state legislature has largely abandoned a set of bills that would have prioritized road safety, reports Ryan Packer for The Urbanist.

Some important road safety bills did make it through: “Among the changes that the legislature was able to pass this year, one likely to be the most impactful is new authorization for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to install automatic speed cameras in highway work zones.”

However, SB 5002, which would have adopted a 0.05% blood alcohol content standard, failed after lobbying from alcohol industry groups. “Another highly anticipated bill this year was HB 1582, and its counterpart, SB 5514, which would have required Washington cities to restrict free right-turn-on-red within 1000 feet of a school, park, library, hospital, or other high pedestrian-traffic facility, with direct signage required at every intersection.” The bill did not advance.

As long as the state continues to focus on education and enforcement in lieu of other measures, Packer sees little potential for progress. “The legislature this year demonstrated that the alternate path, which actually may inconvenience some people, will be a much harder road. But more stringent limits on the operation of vehicles are likely the only changes that will make a difference.”

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