Washington state bills set roundabout rules around trucks

December 31, 2019

Keith Goble

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An effort underway at the Washington statehouse would grant large trucks priority while navigating through roundabouts.

The states of Indiana and Wisconsin have acted in recent years to address concerns about how to properly maneuver with large trucks through the increasingly popular traffic pattern.

Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, and Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, are hopeful of getting the rules adopted in Washington state. Their legislation would require operators of smaller vehicles to yield the right-of-way to large trucks when driving through roundabouts. The rule would apply when the driver of the smaller vehicle is driving through the traffic pattern at or near the same time.

The same rule would also apply for operators of large trucks.

Roundabouts have grown in popularity around the country in recent years following the U.S. Department of Transportation backing their installation to slow traffic and reduce the frequency of severe wrecks. The Washington State Department of Transportation reports that intersections converted to roundabouts show a 75% decrease in injury crashes and a 90% decrease in fatal crashes.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety supports the traffic design.

The Washington state bills define affected trucks as having a minimum total length of 40 feet or a minimum total width of 10 feet.

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For occurrences where two large trucks are approaching a roundabout at about the same time, the vehicle on the right would be required to yield the right-of-way.

The bills, HB2245 and SB6084, can be considered during the regular session that begins Jan. 13.

More Land Line coverage of news from Washington is available.

 

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.