Target: Washington State Patrol
Goal: Repeal law that protects Washington lawmakers from receiving speeding tickets during a legislative session
According to the Washington State Patrol (WSP), Washington state lawmakers are immune from paying the consequences of any noncriminal traffic violations during a legislative session and 15 days prior to the session. The WSP believes lawmakers to be constitutionally protected from paying traffic fines during this time. Sources say the Tacoma Police Department abides by a similar policy, and the idea is spreading throughout the state, no longer limited to just the State Capitol in Olympia.
This is a dangerous, unnecessary exception for lawmakers. The WSP claims that immunity from traffic violations allows lawmakers to get to the Capitol to vote on time, and police do not want to detain them for any amount of time, even that which it would take to write a merited speeding ticket. However, if a lawmaker is a representative of responsible citizenship, then shouldn’t they not drive over the speed limit in the first place? Shouldn’t they leave early to ensure they arrive at the Capitol to perform voting duties which they have been given the honor of performing? We all feel that our jobs are so important that we should be immune from speeding tickets and minor traffic violations on our way to work. But if we all were immune to paying the consequences for irresponsible driving, lives would be in danger. Pedestrians and other motorists would be seriously injured and killed every day due to our lack of incentive to be rightfully cautious on the road, to think of the safety of those around us before our own agenda.
Demand that equal traffic penalties be put in place for lawmakers in the State of Washington to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other drivers on the road. Hold lawmakers accountable for their responsible, or irresponsible, driving.
Dear Washington State Patrol officials,
Please revoke the policy that protects Washington state lawmakers from paying the penalties for driving irresponsibly. According to your organization, Washington lawmakers are not held responsible for minor traffic violations during a legislative session and 15 days prior to the session. We all feel that our jobs are important, and that police should look the other way if we are a doctor racing to the hospital to save a life, or a therapist racing to the office to talk down a suicidal patient. However, no one is above the law, and state lawmakers should not be either.
Lawmakers should leave early enough for legislative sessions and drive responsibly, in order to meet the requirements of their job, just like everyone else. They should be model citizens, representing the rest of their community. Giving lawmakers a license to speed and ignore traffic signs is a recipe not only for injury and possible death, but also for irresponsible lawmakers. Repeal this law and hold lawmakers accountable for their actions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wikipedia