Truck drivers in Washington state will be allowed to use an existing bathroom facility located either on the premises of a shipper or consignee, under a bill signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The new law stipulates that truck drivers be allowed to use an existing bathroom facility located either on the premises of or operated by a shipper or consignee if the restroom is also intended to be used by its employees or customers.
Inslee signed into law House Bill 1457 after it passed both the House and Senate during the recently concluded 2023 session of the state Legislature.
The legislation received broad bipartisan support as evidenced by its lead sponsor, state Rep. Eric Robertson, a Republican, and co-sponsors Reps. Liz Berry, Sharon Tomiko Santos, Julia Reed and Mary Fosse, all Democrats, according to a published report. The House bill succeeded over a similar companion bill introduced during the session in the Senate, the report said.
Bathrooms must not be located in an area where providing access would create an obvious health or safety risk to the motor carrier, the shipper, receiver or employees, according to language in the law. The state Department of Health can issue a warning letter for a first violation of the new law and a fine of up to $300 for a subsequent violation.
Washington became the first state to push for legislation that would allow drivers to use restrooms when picking up or dropping off cargo at an industrial facility. Typically across the nation, drivers are refused access to in-house restroom facilities despite doing business with that company.
The state House last year passed legislation requiring bathroom access for drivers operating at ports. However, it fell short of mandating access for drivers operating at warehouses and distribution centers not located at ports.
According to the new law, shippers/receivers are not required to make any physical changes to a restroom and may have a company employee accompany a motor carrier to the restroom.
Sheri Call, president and CEO of the Washington Trucking Association and a key player behind the movement, said the industry was simply “asking for common courtesy” in pushing for bathroom access for drivers. Call also said the legislation is critical to ensure that female drivers, a demographic the industry is looking to attract, have safe and unfettered access to in-house facilities.
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