Washington state bill covers restroom access for truck drivers

January 18, 2023

Keith Goble


One year after Washington state lawmakers addressed concern about access to restroom facilities at ports, a new bill calls for giving truck drivers operating throughout the state assurances for restroom access.

The Washington Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations have worked together in the state to educate legislators about the need for truck drivers to have restroom access.

Sen. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, is behind a bill to require shippers and receivers to make restrooms available for truck drivers.

2022 law

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law a year ago to require terminal operators to provide “a sufficient number of restrooms” for use by drayage truckers in areas of the terminal that operators typically have access. Areas covered in the rule include inside the gate and truck queuing lots.

Restrooms could include fixed bathrooms or portable toilets.

Terminal operators would be in compliance with the rule when a policy is in place to allow drayage truckers to leave their vehicles at “reasonable times and locations” for purposes of access to restrooms.

Facilities must be located in areas where access would not pose an “obvious health or safety risk” to the user.

Drayage truck operators accessing the terminal for the purpose of loading, unloading, or transporting cargo area covered by the rule.

The legislation that would eventually become law initially included a provision to require retail establishments to make restrooms available for truck drivers.

The provision was dropped from the bill because restroom access at retail establishments is already covered in other areas or statute.

At the time, OOIDA asked legislators to add language to the bill to include shippers and receivers in the requirement for providing restroom access. Despite the Association’s efforts, the language was not included in the final version.

Truckers need more help

Stanford’s bill would expand on the one-year-old law to include shippers and receivers in the restroom access requirement.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh says the legislative pursuit covers a daily dilemma for truck drivers, and taking action is an opportunity for the legislature to address “a basic human need.”

During normal business hours, shippers or receivers would be required to allow restroom access to a motor carrier delivering goods to or picking up goods.

Restrooms in the bill are defined as being intended for use by customers or employees of the shipper or receiver.

Two conditions are included:

  • The restroom must be in an area where providing access would not create an obvious health or safety risk to the user.
  • Allowing the user to access the restroom does not pose an obvious security, health, or safety risk to the shipper, receiver or its employees.

Shippers or receivers that fail to follow the rule could face $125 fines.

The bill, SB5429, is in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. It has five co-sponsors. LL

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