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46.63.160  <<  46.63.170 >>   46.63.180

RCW 46.63.170

Automated traffic safety cameras — Definition.

(1) The use of automated traffic safety cameras for issuance of notices of infraction is subject to the following requirements:

     (a) The appropriate local legislative authority must prepare an analysis of the locations within the jurisdiction where automated traffic safety cameras are proposed to be located: (i) Before enacting an ordinance allowing for the initial use of automated traffic safety cameras; and (ii) before adding additional cameras or relocating any existing camera to a new location within the jurisdiction. Automated traffic safety cameras may be used to detect one or more of the following: Stoplight, railroad crossing, or school speed zone violations. At a minimum, the local ordinance must contain the restrictions described in this section and provisions for public notice and signage. Cities and counties using automated traffic safety cameras before July 24, 2005, are subject to the restrictions described in this section, but are not required to enact an authorizing ordinance. Beginning one year after June 7, 2012, cities and counties using automated traffic safety cameras must post an annual report of the number of traffic accidents that occurred at each location where an automated traffic safety camera is located as well as the number of notices of infraction issued for each camera and any other relevant information about the automated traffic safety cameras that the city or county deems appropriate on the city's or county's web site.

     (b) Use of automated traffic safety cameras is restricted to the following locations only: (i) Intersections of two arterials with traffic control signals that have yellow change interval durations in accordance with RCW 47.36.022, which interval durations may not be reduced after placement of the camera; (ii) railroad crossings; and (iii) school speed zones.

     (c) During the 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 fiscal biennia, automated traffic safety cameras may be used to detect speed violations for the purposes of section 201(2), chapter 367, Laws of 2011 and section 201(4), chapter 306, Laws of 2013 if the local legislative authority first enacts an ordinance authorizing the use of cameras to detect speed violations.

     (d) Automated traffic safety cameras may only take pictures of the vehicle and vehicle license plate and only while an infraction is occurring. The picture must not reveal the face of the driver or of passengers in the vehicle. The primary purpose of camera placement is to take pictures of the vehicle and vehicle license plate when an infraction is occurring. Cities and counties shall consider installing cameras in a manner that minimizes the impact of camera flash on drivers.

     (e) A notice of infraction must be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle within fourteen days of the violation, or to the renter of a vehicle within fourteen days of establishing the renter's name and address under subsection (3)(a) of this section. The law enforcement officer issuing the notice of infraction shall include with it a certificate or facsimile thereof, based upon inspection of photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images produced by an automated traffic safety camera, stating the facts supporting the notice of infraction. This certificate or facsimile is prima facie evidence of the facts contained in it and is admissible in a proceeding charging a violation under this chapter. The photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images evidencing the violation must be available for inspection and admission into evidence in a proceeding to adjudicate the liability for the infraction. A person receiving a notice of infraction based on evidence detected by an automated traffic safety camera may respond to the notice by mail.

     (f) The registered owner of a vehicle is responsible for an infraction under RCW 46.63.030(1)(d) unless the registered owner overcomes the presumption in RCW 46.63.075, or, in the case of a rental car business, satisfies the conditions under subsection (3) of this section. If appropriate under the circumstances, a renter identified under subsection (3)(a) of this section is responsible for an infraction.

     (g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images prepared under this section are for the exclusive use of law enforcement in the discharge of duties under this section 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 violation under this section. No photograph, microphotograph, or electronic image may be used for any purpose other than enforcement of violations under this section nor retained longer than necessary to enforce this section.

     (h) All locations where an automated traffic safety camera is used must be clearly marked at least thirty days prior to activation of the camera by placing signs in locations that clearly indicate to a driver that he or she is entering a zone where traffic laws are enforced by an automated traffic safety camera. Signs placed in automated traffic safety camera locations after June 7, 2012, must follow the specifications and guidelines under the manual of uniform traffic control devices for streets and highways as adopted by the department of transportation under chapter 47.36 RCW.

     (i) If a county or city has established an authorized automated traffic safety camera program under this section, the compensation paid to the manufacturer or vendor of the equipment used must be based only upon the value of the equipment and services provided or rendered in support of the system, and may not be based upon a portion of the fine or civil penalty imposed or the revenue generated by the equipment.

     (2) Infractions detected through the use of automated traffic safety cameras are not part of the registered owner's driving record under RCW 46.52.101 and 46.52.120. Additionally, infractions generated by the use of automated traffic safety cameras under this section shall be processed in the same manner as parking infractions, including for the purposes of RCW 3.50.100, 35.20.220, 46.16A.120, and *46.20.270(3). The amount of the fine issued for an infraction generated through the use of an automated traffic safety camera shall not exceed the amount of a fine issued for other parking infractions within the jurisdiction. However, the amount of the fine issued for a traffic control signal violation detected through the use of an automated traffic safety camera shall not exceed the monetary penalty for a violation of RCW 46.61.050 as provided under RCW 46.63.110, including all applicable statutory assessments.

     (3) If the registered owner of the vehicle is a rental car business, the law enforcement agency shall, before a notice of infraction being issued under this section, provide a written notice to the rental car business that a notice of infraction may be issued to the rental car business if the rental car business does not, within eighteen days of receiving 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 infraction occurred; or

     (b) A statement under oath that the business is unable to determine who was driving or renting the vehicle at the time the infraction occurred because the vehicle was stolen at the time of the infraction. 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 penalty.

     Timely mailing of this statement to the issuing law enforcement agency relieves a rental car business of any liability under this chapter for the notice of infraction.

     (4) 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).

     (5) For the purposes of this section, "automated traffic safety camera" means a device that uses a vehicle sensor installed to work in conjunction with an intersection traffic control system, a railroad grade crossing control system, or a speed measuring device, and a camera synchronized to automatically record one or more sequenced photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images of the rear of a motor vehicle at the time the vehicle fails to stop when facing a steady red traffic control signal or an activated railroad grade crossing control signal, or exceeds a speed limit in a school speed zone as detected by a speed measuring device. During the 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 fiscal biennia, an automated traffic safety camera includes a camera used to detect speed violations for the purposes of section 201(2), chapter 367, Laws of 2011 and section 201(4), chapter 306, Laws of 2013.

     (6) During the 2011-2013 and 2013-2015 fiscal biennia, this section does not apply to automated traffic safety cameras for the purposes of section 216(5), chapter 367, Laws of 2011 and section 216(6), chapter 306, Laws of 2013.

[2013 c 306 § 711. Prior: 2012 c 85 § 3; 2012 c 83 § 7; 2011 c 367 § 704; 2010 c 161 § 1127; 2009 c 470 § 714; 2007 c 372 § 3; 2005 c 167 § 1.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: RCW 46.20.270 was amended by 2013 2nd sp.s. c 35 § 17, changing subsection (3) to subsection (2).

     Effective date -- 2013 c 306: See note following RCW 47.64.170.

     Findings -- Intent -- 2012 c 85: "The legislature finds that it is in the interests of the driving public to continue to provide for a uniform system of traffic control signals, including provisions relative to yellow light durations, fine amounts for certain traffic control signal violations, and signage and reporting requirements at certain traffic control signal locations. The legislature further finds that a uniform system of traffic control signals greatly enhances the public's confidence in a safe and equitable highway network. Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to harmonize and make uniform certain legal provisions relating to traffic control signals." [2012 c 85 § 1.]

     Effective date -- 2011 c 367 §§ 703, 704, 716, and 719: See note following RCW 46.18.060.

     Effective date -- Intent -- Legislation to reconcile chapter 161, Laws of 2010 and other amendments made during the 2010 legislative session -- 2010 c 161: See notes following RCW 46.04.013.

     Effective date -- 2009 c 470: See note following RCW 46.68.170.