Authorized Uses and Requirements for Automated Traffic Safety Cameras.
The use of automated traffic safety cameras is permitted at red light intersections that meet minimum yellow change interval requirements, at railroad crossings, and in school speed zones, if the following criteria are met:
The use of automated traffic safety cameras to detect speed violations is highly restricted (with the exception of cameras in school speed zones), and must meet the following criteria:
Currently, only one such camera meets these requirements, and it is located in the City of Tacoma.
With the exception of the camera located in the City of Tacoma, automated traffic safety cameras may only be located:
Through June 30, 2023, the types of locations where automated traffic safety cameras are permitted includes intersections with more than two arterials with traffic control signals with specified yellow change intervals.
Automated Traffic Safety Camera Pilot Program.
A pilot program is in effect through June 30, 2023, which authorizes cities with populations greater than 500,000 people to adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of automated traffic safety cameras to detect one or more of the following violations:
Stopping at intersection or crosswalk violations may only be enforced at the 20 intersections where the city would most like to address safety concerns related to these violations.
The use of automated traffic safety cameras for the pilot program is limited to the following locations:
Automated traffic safety cameras may not be used on an on-ramp to an interstate. For the purposes of the pilot program, location types where automated traffic safety cameras are permitted are expanded to include mid-block on arterial highways.
Restrictions on the Use of Automated Traffic Safety Cameras.
Automated traffic safety cameras may only take pictures of the vehicle and vehicle license plate while an infraction is occurring, and the pictures taken must not reveal the face of the driver or passengers in the vehicle. Photos and electronic images captured by a camera may only be used for the enforcement of traffic infractions for which their use has been authorized, and may not be retained longer than would be necessary for these enforcement purposes. Photos and electronic images are not available to the public and may not be used in a court in a pending action or proceeding unless that action or proceeding relates to a traffic infraction for which their use has been authorized.
The restriction on the use of photos and electronic images captured by a camera also applies to any other personally identifying data through June 30, 2023, which may only be used for the enforcement of traffic infractions for which their use has been authorized, and may not be retained longer than necessary for these enforcement purposes. Also through June 30, 2023, other personally identifying data is not available to the public and may not be used in a court in a pending action or proceeding unless that action or proceeding relates to a traffic infraction for which its use has been authorized.
Automated Traffic Safety Camera-Captured Infractions.
A notice of traffic infraction must be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle within 14 days of the violation (or to its renter within 14 days of his or her name and address being established). The law enforcement officer issuing the notice must include a certificate or copy of a certificate stating the facts supporting the notice, which serves as prima facie evidence of the facts contained in it. The photographs or electronic images that serve as evidence of the violation must be available for inspection and admission into evidence in a proceeding on the infraction.
The infraction is not part of the registered owner's driving record and must be processed in the same manner as parking infractions. The infraction may not exceed the fine amount for other parking infractions in a jurisdiction in which it has occurred, and also may not exceed the monetary penalty for failure to obey a traffic control device (currently $139), as set by rule by the Washington State Supreme Court.
The registered owner of a vehicle is held responsible for the infraction unless he or she states under oath in a written statement to the court or in testimony before the court that the vehicle was stolen or was in the care, custody, or control of some other person at the time of the infraction.
Cities are authorized to operate at least one automated traffic safety camera outside of school speed zones to detect speed violations, and may operate one additional automated traffic safety camera outside of school speed zones to detect speed violations for every 10,000 residents.
Automated traffic safety cameras must be placed in locations that meet one of the following criteria:
A city locating an automated traffic safety camera must complete an equity analysis that evaluates livability; accessibility; economics, education, and environmental health; and must consider the outcome of that analysis when identifying where to locate an automated traffic safety camera.
Automated traffic safety cameras must be placed in a manner that limits drivers from diverting to alternative roads to avoid them.
Fifty percent of revenue received from infractions captured by automated traffic safety cameras to detect speed violations outside of school speed zones must be remitted monthly to the state, excluding the costs of camera administration, installation, operations, and maintenance (the cost of processing infractions are excluded as well). These funds must be deposited in the Cooper Jones Active Transportation Account, which is restricted to funding grant projects or programs for bicycle, pedestrian, and non-motorist safety improvements administered by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The remaining 50 percent of revenue from these infractions must be used by a city for improvements to transportation that support equitable access and mobility for individuals with disabilities.