skip navigation

Automated Traffic Enforcement

This page provides information about the use of automated traffic enforcement systems (red light cameras) in Washington State, including legal references, local examples, and related articles.

Overview of Automated Traffic Enforcement

  • Red Light Running, Federal Highway Administration Safety - A series of pages on intersection safety that provides information on Policy and Guidelines, Data and Statistics, Technical Assistance and Tools, Research and Publications, Outreach Support: Implementing a Stop Red-Light Running Program, and Red-Light Cameras/Automated Enforcement
  • Automated Enforcement, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Automated Traffic Law Enforcement Model Law, National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances
  • Speed Cameras: An Effectiveness and a Policy Review, by David K. Willis, Center for Transportation Safety, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University System, Updated May 2006 - The report concludes that speeding enhances crash risk and severity and that speed cameras reduce both speeding and crash severity. Implementation issues, however, are highly problematical, and a poorly implemented automated speed enforcement program can easily undermine public support.

Automated Traffic Enforcement in Washington

Following several years of study including the use of pilot programs, the 2005 Washington state legislature authorized the use of automated traffic safety cameras.


Court Cases

  • Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Gov't v. City of Mukilteo ___ Wn.2d ___ (03/08/2012) - Because the legislature expressly granted authority to the governing body of the city of Mukilteo to enact ordinances on the use of automated traffic safety cameras, the subject matter of Proposition 1 is not within the initiative power
  • American Traffic Solutions v. City of Bellingham, 163 Wn. App 427 (09/06/2011) - Initiative No. 2011-01 exceeds the lawful scope of local initiative power; it is not a valid ballot measure

Background on the Law

Red Light Camera Programs - General

Washington Local Government Automated Safety Camera Programs

Washington Cities

Washington Counties

  • Pierce County Code Ch. 10.42 - Authorized Use of Automated Traffic Safety Cameras

Last Modified: January 02, 2019