BILL REQ. #: H-1842.2
|State of Washington||63rd Legislature||2013 Regular Session|
READ FIRST TIME 03/01/13.
AN ACT Relating to the adjudication of tolls and accompanying civil penalties; and amending RCW 46.63.160.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1 RCW 46.63.160 and 2011 c 367 s 705 are each amended to
read as follows:
(1) This section applies only to civil penalties for nonpayment of tolls detected through use of photo toll systems.
(2) Nothing in this section prohibits a law enforcement officer from issuing a notice of traffic infraction to a person in control of a vehicle at the time a violation occurs under RCW 46.63.030(1) (a), (b), or (c).
(3) A notice of civil penalty may be issued by the department of transportation when a toll is assessed through use of a photo toll system and the toll is not paid by the toll payment due date, which is eighty days from the date the vehicle uses the toll facility and incurs the toll charge.
(4) Any registered owner or renter of a vehicle traveling upon a toll facility operated under chapter 47.56 or 47.46 RCW is subject to a civil penalty governed by the administrative procedures set forth in this section when the vehicle incurs a toll charge and the toll is not paid by the toll payment due date, which is eighty days from the date the vehicle uses the toll facility and incurs the toll charge.
(5)(a) Consistent with chapter 34.05 RCW, the department of transportation shall develop an administrative adjudication process to review appeals of civil penalties issued by the department of transportation for toll nonpayment detected through the use of a photo toll system under this section.
(b) During the adjudication process, the alleged violator must have an opportunity to explain mitigating circumstances. Hospitalization, a divorce decree or legal separation agreement resulting in a transfer of the vehicle, an active duty member of the military or national guard covered by the federal servicemembers civil relief act, 50 U.S.C. Sec. 501 et seq., or state service members' civil relief act, chapter 38.42 RCW, eviction, homelessness, the death of the alleged violator or of an immediate family member, or if the alleged violator did not receive a toll charge bill or notice of civil penalty are valid mitigating circumstances. All of these reasons that constitute mitigating circumstances must occur within a reasonable time of the alleged toll violation. In response to these circumstances, the adjudicator may reduce or dismiss the civil penalty.
(6) The use of a photo toll system is subject to the following requirements:
(a) Photo toll systems may take photographs, digital photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, or other recorded images of the vehicle and vehicle license plate only.
(b) A notice of civil penalty must include with it a certificate or facsimile thereof, based upon inspection of photographs, microphotographs, videotape, or other recorded images produced by a photo toll system, stating the facts supporting the notice of civil penalty. This certificate or facsimile is prima facie evidence of the facts contained in it and is admissible in a proceeding established under subsection (5) of this section. The photographs, digital photographs, microphotographs, videotape, or other recorded images evidencing the toll nonpayment civil penalty must be available for inspection and admission into evidence in a proceeding to adjudicate the liability for the civil penalty.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all photographs, digital photographs, microphotographs, videotape, other recorded images, or other records identifying a specific instance of travel prepared under this chapter are for the exclusive use of the tolling agency for toll collection and enforcement purposes and are not open to the public and may not be used in a court in a pending action or proceeding unless the action or proceeding relates to a civil penalty under this chapter. No photograph, digital photograph, microphotograph, videotape, other recorded image, or other record identifying a specific instance of travel may be used for any purpose other than toll collection or enforcement of civil penalties under this section. Records identifying a specific instance of travel by a specific person or vehicle must be retained only as required to ensure payment and enforcement of tolls and to comply with state records retention policies.
(d) All locations where a photo toll system is used must be clearly marked by placing signs in locations that clearly indicate to a driver that he or she is entering a zone where tolls are assessed and enforced by a photo toll system.
(e) Within existing resources, the department of transportation shall conduct education and outreach efforts at least six months prior to activating an all-electronic photo toll system. Methods of outreach shall include a department presence at community meetings in the vicinity of a toll facility, signage, and information published in local media. Information provided shall include notice of when all electronic photo tolling shall begin and methods of payment. Additionally, the department shall provide quarterly reporting on education and outreach efforts and other data related to the issuance of civil penalties.
(7) Civil penalties for toll nonpayment detected through the use of photo toll systems must be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle identified by the photo toll system, but are not part of the registered owner's driving record under RCW 46.52.101 and 46.52.120.
(8) The civil penalty for toll nonpayment detected through the use of a photo toll system is forty dollars plus the photo toll and associated fees.
(9) Except as provided otherwise in this subsection, all civil penalties, including the photo toll and associated fees, collected under this section must be deposited into the toll facility account of the facility on which the toll was assessed. However, through June 30, 2013, civil penalties deposited into the Tacoma Narrows toll bridge account created under RCW 47.56.165 that are in excess of amounts necessary to support the toll adjudication process applicable to toll collection on the Tacoma Narrows bridge must first be allocated toward repayment of operating loans and reserve payments provided to the account from the motor vehicle account under section 1005(15), chapter 518, Laws of 2007. Additionally, all civil penalties, resulting from nonpayment of tolls on the state route number 520 corridor, shall be deposited into the state route number 520 civil penalties account created under section 4, chapter 248, Laws of 2010 but only if chapter 248, Laws of 2010 is enacted by June 30, 2010.
(10) If the registered owner of the vehicle is a rental car business, the department of transportation shall, before a toll bill is issued, provide a written notice to the rental car business that a toll bill may be issued to the rental car business if the rental car business does not, within thirty days of the mailing of the written notice, provide to the issuing agency by return mail:
(a) A statement under oath stating the name and known mailing address of the individual driving or renting the vehicle when the toll was assessed; or
(b) A statement under oath that the business is unable to determine who was driving or renting the vehicle at the time the toll was assessed because the vehicle was stolen at the time the toll was assessed. A statement provided under this subsection must be accompanied by a copy of a filed police report regarding the vehicle theft; or
(c) In lieu of identifying the vehicle operator, the rental car business may pay the applicable toll and fee.
Timely mailing of this statement to the issuing agency relieves a rental car business of any liability under this section for the payment of the toll.
(11) Consistent with chapter 34.05 RCW, the department of transportation shall develop rules to implement this section.
(12) For the purposes of this section, "photo toll system" means the system defined in RCW 47.56.010 and 47.46.020.