New rules for towing, traffic fines increase

Reporter staff

A new state law that went into effect July 22 will allow police agencies to tow vehicles parked on public streets when their registrations are expired by more than 45 days. The revision to RCW 46.55.113 permits police to impound such vehicles immediately, just as in other situations such as the arrest of the driver, parking in restricted zones or obstructing traffic.

The bill does not apply to vehicles on private property.

This law serves as a tool for police to clear the city’s streets of derelict vehicles. These vehicles can become not only an irritant to drivers and residents, but also a neighborhood eyesore and potentially an environmental hazard. In the city of Bellevue, the department’s parking enforcement officer estimates that 50 percent of active parking complaints meet the criteria for towing.

Vehicles with expired registrations less than 45 days past the expiration date remain unaffected by this law. They may be subject to other laws or ordinances. The Mercer Island Police Department is committed to assisting neighborhoods and residents in their efforts to keep neighborhoods safe and attractive by enforcing the law.

Residents can report violators by calling the main business telephone of the Mercer Island Police Department at 236- 3500.

Traffic fines increase

Traffic fines have increased as of July 22. The new schedule increases infractions by $12.

The new fee schedule was adopted into law this past legislative session. It is designed to provide additional revenue for treatment of victims with traumatic brain injuries and to provide assistance in the anticipated increase in prosecution costs associated with a new, tougher auto theft law.

The new fines will be associated with violating such laws as HOV lane restrictions, failure to signal, improper lane change, seat belt violations, following too closely and all equipment violations.

The cost of violating the basic speed law still will be determined on a sliding scale. One scale will be utilized for speed zones of 40 mph or lower and another for speed zones greater than 40 mph.

The new fee schedule for exceeding posted speed limits are as follows:

Drive 1 to 5 mph over, $93;

Drive 6 to 10 mph over, $113;

Drive 11 to 15 mph over, $144;

Drive 16 to 20 mph over, $175;

Drive 21 to 25 mph over, $206;

Drive 26 to 30 mph over, $247;

Drive 31 to 35 mph over $298;

Drive 36 to 40 mph over $ 349;

Drive 41 mph over or more $411;

Other fines that will increase include:

No Auto Insurance $550;

Negligent driving $550;

Expired driver’s license $550;

Expired license tabs $124;

Expired license tabs over two months $216;

Ticket as a result of a collision

$ 175.

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