Last Monday, a car ran a red light in Richland, hitting a Dial-a-Ride bus on the intersection of Thayer and Swift Boulevard. The bus, a transportation system for people with disabilities, flipped onto its side as a result of the impact of hitting a curb after being crashed into by the small Nissan Rogue. Luckily, no one was seriously injured; two people were treated for minor injuries.
Unfortunately, most cases involving running a red light result in more serious injuries and even fatalities, affecting people in other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Running traffic controls, such as red lights and stop signs, is not only one of the most common causes of vehicle collisions, but also traffic violations.
Obedience to and required traffic control devices.
(1) The driver of any vehicle, every bicyclist, and every pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exception granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter.
(2) No provision of this chapter for which official traffic control devices are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official device is not in proper position and sufficiently legible or visible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular section does not state that official traffic control devices are required, such section shall be effective even though no devices are erected or in place.
(3) Whenever official traffic control devices are placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of this chapter, such devices shall be presumed to have been so placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.
(4) Any official traffic control device placed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to such devices shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.
It is legal in Washington to place "red light cameras" at intersections in order to photograph offenders and enforce traffic laws.
Furthermore, it is not against the law to enter an intersection while the light is yellow, as a yellow light simply signals that the light will soon turn red. It only becomes illegal once you deliberately drive through a red light – if the light is red before your vehicle has entered the intersection or crossed the limit line.
The penalty for running a red light and other traffic controls in Washington may be up to a $250 fine, but varies by county.
If you have any questions or need an attorney regarding traffic-related accidents and injuries, give Anderson Law a call at (509) 734-1345.