Washington bills offer 'friendly' reminder to drivers for headlight use

| 2/8/2006

Truckers and other drivers traveling in Washington state during the afternoon soon could be flipping their headlights on in an effort not to draw attention to themselves.

The need to turn on a vehicle’s headlights when driving in bad weather – a practice that is second nature to most professional truck drivers – is drawing legislative consideration in Olympia.

One bill in the Senate would allow police to ticket drivers who fail to flip on their lights when precipitation is falling.

Sponsored by Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle, the bill would require lights to be on whenever visibility is limited. The measure defines that as “any time when the vehicle’s windshield wipers are in use due to snow, rain, fog, or other sight-limiting atmospheric conditions.”

Another bill, offered by Sen. James Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, would require drivers to use their headlights at all times during the fall and winter months.

The measure specifies that a vehicle’s lights be flipped on at all times from 2 a.m. PST on the last Sunday in October until 2 a.m. PST on the first Sunday in April.

Hargrove’s bill – SB6694 – is in the Senate Transportation Committee. Jacobsen’s bill – SB5023 – is in the Senate Rules Committee.

The bills have a Saturday, Feb. 11, deadline to advance from the Senate to the House.