PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Washington drivers might need to think twice before turning right on red if lawmakers pass a House bill that’s being discussed in the 2023 regular session. 

House Bill 1582 would prohibit drivers from making right turns within 1,000 feet of several locations. 

Those locations include elementary or secondary schools, child care centers, public parks or playgrounds, recreation centers or facilities, libraries, public transit centers, hospitals, senior centers and any other facilities with high levels of pedestrian traffic. 

The law applies to both one-way and two-way streets and says local jurisdictions can determine what other places are considered high-pedestrian areas. 

Local jurisdictions or departments of transportation would also be responsible for placing signs at each intersection impacted by the law, informing drivers they cannot turn right on red. 

If the law passes, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission would be tasked with developing a statewide public awareness campaign to inform people in the state about the new right-on-red rules. 

If passed, HB 1582 would take effect July 1, 2024. 

At a hearing with the House Transportation Committee on Feb. 2, lawmakers said the estimated cost of the awareness campaign would be $1 million in the first year and $775,000 for the next two years. 

There is not yet a statewide estimate of how much it would cost to install signs across Washington. However, the Washington Department of Transportation told lawmakers that installing a sign at a stoplight can cost anywhere from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. 

The city of Tacoma alone estimates it could cost about $3 million to erect the required signs across the city.  

Melinda Kasraie testified at the hearing in support of the bill. She said five years ago she was at an intersection in Seattle and had the walk sign. She took two steps into the intersection when a driver who had turned right at the red light hit her. 

She spent 24 weeks in a wheelchair while her bones healed and required a knee replacement from the accident. 

“Five years later, I’m still anxious to cross the street,” she said. “I did everything right when I crossed that street and I still got hit by a car.” 

Herb Krohn, state director for rail workers in Washington state, testified saying he opposes the legislation as it’s written because municipalities can already prohibit right turns on red at any intersection in their jurisdiction and he said it usurps local governments.  

“The bill is written so broadly in section 1-i that cities could ban right turns at every right turn at every red light and intersection in a retail business area,” he said. 

He said making a right turn on red is one of the few ways drivers have control of relieving traffic congestion.