Washington State Patrol Pilots Photo Radar on Interstate 5

By Kevin Miller


Drivers in the Pacific Northwest, be warned. Washington State Patrol, in cooperation with the state’s Department of Transportation, is implementing a new photo radar ticketing scheme in construction zones along Interstate 5 south of Chehalis. The pilot program uses an unmarked white Ford Escape filled with photo radar equipment. For now the WSP has a single photo-radar vehicle. The pilot program will run through December, and its success will be evaluated to determine whether to discontinue the program, or to expand the state’s photo-radar fleet.

There are several construction zones between Olympia and Vancouver, WA, so it makes sense for the WSP to conduct this trial on that stretch of roadway. Until now, the State Patrol actually had to have a trooper checking vehicle speed, either from the roadside using a radar gun or from the air. This program allows the WSP to ticket you in absentia. As the photo radar vehicle is only being tested in construction zones, the WSP will still be ticketing drivers the old-fashioned way in other parts of the state.

During the trial period, the tickets coming from the photo radar vehicle will not count as moving violations, so they do not go on a driver’s record. These tickets, which arrive by mail to the vehicle’s registered home address, merely generate revenue; to the tune of $137 per ticket. Northwest drivers, consider yourselves warned. Drive safely!

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Kevin Miller

As Autosavant’s resident Swedophile, Kevin has an acute affinity for Saabs, with a mild case of Volvo-itis as well. Aside from covering most Saab-related news for Autosavant, Kevin also reviews cars and covers industry news. His “Great Drive” series, with maps and directions included, is a reader favorite.

Share This Post On


  1. “…its success will be evaluated…”

    Of course, what they really mean is the revenue from this stealth tax will be counted.

    This thing’s nothing but another government scam. Hawaii tried photo radar and when it was quickly determined “speed enforcement” was a code word for “revenue enhancement” and had nothing to do with public safety, it was chased off the freeways and out of the state. The judges couldn’t throw out virtually all the tickets generated by this travesty fast enough.

  2. Wonderful technology. I don’t think it should be used on highways on a normal basis, but it’s great in work zones. I’d love to see them in school zones as well. They should really be ‘stealth’ like in Germany. You will not know it’s there until they take a picture of you. Great article.

    Now WSDOT, how about variable speed limit signs too?

  3. Congratulations on being finally invited to a party that the rest of the ‘free’ world attends (without really wanting to).

    It’s really not a bad party……..as long as you don’t get caught trying to steal other peoples drinks.

    Consider it another incentive to not drive like a lunatic…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.