Washington state headlight bills die in committee

| 4/4/2006

People who cannot figure out that it’s a good idea to flip on their headlights in bad weather won’t have to worry about getting a ticket as a result of their lack of common sense – for the time being.

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 – drew consideration during the recently completed regular legislative session in Olympia. However, the bill never made it out of committee.

The Senate bill – SB5023 – would have allowed police to ticket drivers who fail to flip on their lights when precipitation is falling.

Sponsored by Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle, the bill sought to require lights to be on whenever visibility is limited. The measure defined 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 headlight-use bill met the same fate.

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

The measure – SB6694 – specified 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.