Seattle, WA— The red-light camera scandal in Seattle is just one of many red-tagged issues plaguing Washington state.
But it’s also one of the biggest headaches in the state’s legislative session.
The state legislature is working to pass legislation to limit red-ticketing by allowing drivers to request a temporary extension, a change that could cost Washington’s roadways more than $500 million a year.
State lawmakers are also working to draft a plan to help curb red-tail traffic, including a plan for red-tarping on freeways, the state Transportation Department says.
On Thursday, the Senate and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a public hearing to examine a new proposal to create a state program to assist people with a traffic violation who have a disability or are otherwise at risk.
Red-ticketed drivers are a growing problem in the United States, where nearly three-quarters of the nation’s traffic fatalities happen on freeway and state roads.
In Washington, a new state law could increase the penalty for such red-teardrop violations to a maximum of $500, up from the current $25, up to $150 and a maximum $2,500 fine.
The proposal was introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, in the last legislative session but has yet to make it to the desk of Gov.
Jay Inslee, who has indicated he would sign it into law.
“We need to make sure we get this right,” Harkin told reporters Thursday.
“The safety of our roadways, the safety of people traveling in these roads and the safety and well-being of our citizens is of paramount importance.”
The red-flag law is intended to make the red-shooting process safer for people with disabilities, such as those with cerebral palsy, as well as those who have suffered a severe head injury, or those with serious health conditions such as asthma or diabetes.
Washington state’s red light camera program was created in the early 2000s.
It requires red-carrier drivers to pay a $25 fine and then wait six months before receiving a ticket.
Those caught committing a traffic offense in the past year are given a second chance.
Some of those who get a second ticket pay it in full and are then given a $2 fine and an opportunity to take their red-ray ticket down.
Those who do not pay the full $2 are given one-time tickets of up to one-half of their previous ticket.
Critics of the program argue that it encourages excessive ticketing, and says that if the state could do away with the red tape it could save hundreds of millions of dollars.
But the Washington State Patrol has been critical of the red light program.
One of the agency’s biggest complaints is that drivers are given tickets with no warning or explanation of what the violation is, which critics say is a clear violation of the federal law that prohibits excessive ticket red-lights.
In the first six months of this year, the agency issued over 9,300 red-stop tickets, according to its data, according the Washington Post.