The state House and Senate are both moving ahead with efforts to standardize cities’ use of traffic cameras, but a push to give voters a veto over cameras has so far been thwarted.
The House Transportation Committee on Tuesday defeated an attempt to require local voters to approve cities’ plans to install cameras. Other bills calling for local votes or an outright ban on cameras are falling by the wayside and appear unlikely to meet a Friday deadline to move forward.
The committee by a 17-9 vote approved House Bill 1279, introduced by Rep. Connie Ladenburg at the urging of the Tacoma City Council.
Among other issues, the bill addresses complaints that cameras are dinging drivers for something a flesh-and-blood officer would let slide: making a right turn on red without coming to a full stop clear of the intersection.
Under the bill, red-light tickets would have to be reviewed by police, who would be required to use the same “discretion” an officer on patrol would use when deciding whether to write a ticket.
Tacoma officials say that’s what traffic officers in their city already do. Most tickets for turning right on red in Tacoma are rejected by officers before they ever get to drivers, police say.
A bill by Eatonville Sen. Randi Becker headed for the Senate floor does not have the provision on officers’ discretion, but otherwise it is similar to Ladenburg’s. Both bills would require yellow-light times to match federal standards, a restriction meant to keep cities from making yellow lights shorter to catch more drivers running red lights.