35.21.090  <<  35.21.095 >>   35.21.100

Bridge jumping hazard signs.

(1)(a) The executive officer, or a designated employee, with control of operations and maintenance of a bridge of any city or town may authorize the erection of informational signs near or attached to bridges providing location-specific information about the hazards of jumping with the goal of preventing future deaths. These signs are meant to provide more information than just a "no jumping" sign so that people can better understand the hazards related to a particular location. Signs providing information on the hazards of cold-water shock that leads to drowning may be erected in locations where people might otherwise think a location is safe for swimming. Signs may include the statewide 988 suicide prevention hotline.
(b) Any city or town responsible for the repair, replacement, and maintenance of bridges is encouraged to create a process where individuals may request the installation of an informational sign to address jumping off a bridge in locations that do not have such signs installed.
(c) Signs created under this section may not conflict with provisions of the manual on uniform traffic control devices or existing state laws related to placement and design of signs that are placed along transportation corridors.
(d) If a sign is to be located along a state highway or the interstate system, the department of transportation must approve the sign and location prior to erecting the sign, but no permit or fee is necessary.
(e) Cities and towns may accept gifts or donations to pay for the creation, installation, or maintenance of signs under this section.
(2) This section applies prospectively.
(3) This section does not create a private right of action by, or a legal duty to, any party, and may not be used to impose liability on the city or town if a sign has or has not been erected on its property. The state of Washington, including all of its agencies, subdivisions, employees, and agents, shall not be liable in tort for any violation of chapter 54, Laws of 2023, notwithstanding any other provision of law.


Short title2023 c 54: "This act may be known and cited as "Zack's law."" [ 2023 c 54 § 1.]
IntentFinding2023 c 54: "(1) The legislature intends state and local agencies to install signs on or near bridges to warn people of the dangers of diving or jumping off the bridge.
(2) This law is enacted at the request of family and friends of Zachary Lee Rager and the Chehalis community in the expectation that better information on bridges will prevent future deaths. On March 23, 2021, Zachary Lee Rager jumped off a bridge in a location he had jumped from many times before during the summer months. Unfortunately, the colder water and conditions were different earlier in the year, and he did not survive.
(3) The legislature finds that cold-water shock drowning can occur when the water temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature difference when a body is submerged in the colder water leads to involuntary gasping, inhalation of water, loss of mobility, and loss of consciousness. The ability to hold one's breath is substantially reduced to seconds rather than minutes. Many people may underestimate the conditions on a sunny and warm day, like Zachary Lee Rager did, and a sign that waters may still be too cold for swimming and facts about cold-water shock drowning could prevent future deaths.
(4) The legislature recognizes that state agencies and local governments currently may install informational signs pursuant to RCW 47.42.050. This act creates a pathway so that governments may work with individuals and communities to provide more signs with location appropriate information in the expectation that more information will prevent future deaths.
(5) Lastly, the legislature is directing state and local governments to consider installing informational signs about the hazards of diving or jumping under this act when they construct new bridges or replace existing infrastructure. The legislature recognizes that not every bridge will need such signs. The choice to install a sign is going to be specific to the location and an assessment of many different factors, including the size of the waterway, the height of the bridge, the communities' level of interest in having such signs, the physical layout of the bridge and surrounding terrain, the resources provided to pay for the bridge, and the likelihood of individuals to use that particular location to dive or jump." [ 2023 c 54 § 2.]
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