Senate unanimously approves Jenkin bill supporting safer emergency and work zones

A bill sponsored by Rep. Bill Jenkin modifying current provisions relating to how drivers approach emergency and work zone vehicles was unanimously approved by the state Senate this week.

Per the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Washington state averages almost 850 highway work zone injuries per year. In the past five years, there have been approximately 7,564 collisions in work zones. The top three causes of work zone crashes are distracted and inattentive driving, following too close and speeding.

“The unanimous approval of this bill couldn’t have happened at a better time. This week is Work Zone Safety Awareness Week bringing attention to motorist and worker safety issues in work zones across the state,” said Jenkin, R-Prosser. “I’m glad the Legislature is taking a proactive approach to show the hard-working men and women of our transportation road crews, firefighters, law enforcement officers and tow truck drivers their lives matter. My bill is a common-sense solution intended to save lives.”

House Bill 1469 would require drivers passing an emergency or work zone vehicle to reduce their speed, change lanes and move away from the vehicle. Drivers would need to reduce their speed to at least 10 miles-per-hour below the posted speed limit if changing lanes, or moving away from the vehicle, is unsafe.

“We all know the importance of slowing down when we approach an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, or drive through a construction work zone,” continued Jenkin. “My bill is about safety, bringing awareness to an increasing problem and saving lives.”

Jenkin’s bill unanimously passed the state House of Representatives and the state Senate. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for final signature.


Washington State House Republican Communications