Forum: ‘Lights on for safety’ should be law on state highways

A bill sponsored by Sen. John Lovick would require headlights on, night and day, while driving.

By Chuck Wright / Herald Forum

Driving 128th Street SE and in a foggy area, I noticed all cars but three, all white ones, had their lights on. Since the white cars didn’t have their headlights on it was hard to track them. But since I could see the other cars’ headlights, I knew that where the headlight goes, the oncoming car goes.

As reported on PubMed a study found that “daytime running lights are associated with reductions in multiple-vehicle daytime crashes, especially those involving vehicles approaching from the front or side.”

In 1989, Canada for safety reasons became the first country to mandate all vehicles sold or imported to the country must have automatic daytime running lights. After the passage of the law voluminous studies have found when headlights are turned on collisions have decreased substantially.

For me it’s appealing that for safety reasons those vehicles that travel on the Yakama Nation’s 76-mile stretch on U.S. 97 highway that starts just south of downtown Yakima and joins up with Highway 14 at the Columbia River, must have their lights on at all times.

Lights on for safety lead to our state passing a law that makes it mandatory that motorcyclists have their lights on at all times. If it’s a safety issue for them to do so, then why not for all moving vehicles?

It’s not a law, but often we are warned, “Lights on for safety,” along many of our two-lane highways. One example being U.S. 2.

If the state believes the roadways are safer with the driver’s lights on, then the state is saying if you do not follow these suggestions, you are driving dangerously. With this implied statement, the Department of Transportation is admitting there should be a statute to make the suggestion a mandatory rule.

Yes, permanent driving lights make moving vehicles more visible. Additionally, this makes a big difference for other road users including pedestrians. joggers, and bicyclists.

After bringing this road safety need to the attention of 44th District Sen. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, a member of the transportation committee, he became the main sponsor for Senate Bill 6288 which would require: “Every motor vehicle upon a highway within this state at any time shall display lighted headlights.”

If you agree with Lovick’s SB 6288 major traffic safety law then please contact your legislators and let them know that you do.

Chuck Wright lives in Mill Creek.

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