By: Paul Karolczyk

On June 7, Washington State traffic laws changed to improve roadway work zone safety. The new law requires drivers to proceed with due caution, slow down, and, if safe, move over or change lanes when approaching any authorized construction or maintenance vehicle or worker in a designated roadway work zone. The new rules describe work zones to include adjacent road lanes 200 feet before and after stationary or slow-moving construction, maintenance, solid waste, or utility service vehicles that display flashing or rotating lights that meet state requirements for vehicle warning light systems. Fines range from $136 for failing to move over to $1,000 for reckless endangerment offenses. Penalties can also include jail sentences and driver’s license suspensions. The changes follow House Bill 2087, which passed with full legislative support to expand the previous “move over law” for first responders and emergency vehicles.


Our mobility depends on the people who build, repair, and maintain highways, streets, and bridges. Every day their roadway work zones place them near serious hazards that include being dangerously close to motor vehicle traffic. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that passing vehicles killed 248 roadway construction workers between 2011 and 2016. That’s almost 1 fatality a week. Following the rules of the road will keep Washington State’s roadway workers alive and safe.


Find more information here:


House Bill 2087 Summary


RCW 46.61, Rules of the Road


RCW 46.61.212, Approaching emergency zones – Penalty – Violation


L&I DOSH roadway worker safety training resources:


Road construction work zone safety presentation


Flagger safety


Asphalt worker safety


WSDOT Work Zone Safety resources