Legislation calling for reopening of public rest areas unanimously passes out of committee

A bill from Rep. Dan Griffey that would expedite the reopening of safety rest areas throughout the state to the public has passed out of committee.

House Bill 1655 aims to keep Washington roads safe, by allowing all drivers to use safety rest areas. Commercial motor vehicle parking shortages are a national safety concern. However, state government made things worse in Washington when they ordered the closing of many state-owned and operated safety rest areas in the fall of 2021.

“This bill is going to save lives,” said Griffey, R-Allyn. “We need to do everything we can to help prevent serious and fatal injuries, and give our truck drivers a break. The work these drivers do goes largely unnoticed, but without them we could not survive.”

The House Transportation Committee this week unanimously passed the bill, which would encourage the opening of safety rest areas for all drivers who need a place to stop when they are tired, as soon as possible.

The bill would direct the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to reconfigure its maintenance operations to assure state-owned and operated safety rest areas are open for use except for seasonal closures or cleaning, maintenance, and repairs.

It would also allow the WSDOT to initiate a strategic planning process that addresses the maintenance, operation, and safety of its owned and operated safety rest areas.

“It is absolutely necessary to reopen these rest areas now,” said Griffey. “Not only will it make our roads safer, but it will also keep our economy moving. If you think the supply chain issues we have now are a problem, you wouldn't want to see how bad things would get if we didn't have enough truck drivers to transport the goods that are available.”

The bill now waits to be heard on the House floor.

The 2022 legislative session began Jan. 10 and is scheduled to last 60 days.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov