Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

STA policy has no instructions for yellow lights

Spokane Transit Authority drivers have no rules prohibiting left-hand turns on yellow lights, according to records provided to The Spokesman-Review on Friday.

A records request was placed for the STA's formal policies governing how to proceed through intersections following last week's fatal crash between a bus and a motorcycle at Crestline Street and Euclid Avenue. Thomas Robert Dale Samples, 52, died of blunt injuries to his chest in the crash, and the Spokane County Medical Examiner has ruled Samples' death a suicide. Video from the bus shows Samples running a red light before the crash, Spokane Police said. Samples was wearing a helmet.

The STA driver's handbook lists the following rules for how to approach intersections:

*     Open intersections: look both ways as often as needed before proceeding.

*     Major intersections: prepare to stop as traffic signals require; do not charge the lights; read the walk/don't walk signals to anticipate the signal change.

*     Do not become trapped in an intersection.

*     Approach all intersections with caution, anticipating traffic signals (walk/don't walk signs).

*     Obey all traffic signals. When a stop is required, it must be a complete stop, not a "rolling" stop.

*     Your foot should cover the brake pedal when approaching open intersections; be ready to stop or yield to other vehicles or pedestrians.

*     2-second rule before entering an intersection on a light change.

*     If you must open the door to improve your view, close the door before moving the coach.

The rules make no mention of yellow lights, however there are multiple directives to "anticipate traffic signals" by looking at the walk signs. There are walk signals at the intersection where the fatal crash took place. There's also a rule not to become trapped in an intersection.

Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

Follow Kip online: