Rep. Sam Low’s organ transport bill signed into law

On Thursday, May 4, the governor signed House Bill 1271 into law. Sponsored by Rep. Sam Low, R-Lake Stevens, House Bill 1271 allows organ transport vehicles with specially-trained drivers to use red lights and sirens like other emergency vehicles when transporting a time-sensitive, life-saving organ, so it can get to the person who needs it quickly and safely before the clock runs out.

“As a member of the House Transportation Committee leadership team, I am incredibly proud of the collaborative work we did on this bill,” said Low. “I have no doubt it will save lives.”

House Bill 1271 also outlines specific criteria for drivers to qualify to operate organ transport vehicles. Drivers will have to be at least 25 years old, current or former law enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical service providers and have at least five years of experience operating emergency vehicles.

The organizations involved in organ transplants celebrated the news.

“Organ and tissue donation is a rare, remarkable and complex process, requiring precision at every step while time is of the essence,” shared Santokh Gill, LifeCenter Northwest CEO. “Every second counts towards the health of the organ during transport and we know transplant patients are waiting on the other end. We are grateful for this valuable legislation, which provides our transportation partners the tools they need to ensure life-saving organs are never delayed due to traffic.”

“NORA, the Nationwide Organ Recovery Transport Alliance, is pleased that this legislation has passed as it will allow us to move lifesaving organs in the fastest, safest and most efficient manner possible,” said Jeff Schneider, director of NORA’s Washington state region. “We know how critical time is when transporting human organs, and this legislation will save lives. We value our partnership with LifeCenter Northwest and look forward to continuing to work together in the mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation.”

Under the new law, organ transport vehicles will be specially licensed for two years at a time under a joint Washington Department of Health and Washington Department of Licensing program. In addition to having emergency lights and sirens, the vehicles will be able to use traffic signal preemption devices when transporting time-sensitive organs and use the HOV lane.

“I cannot imagine how devastating it would be if one of my loved ones did not receive the life-saving organ they needed because traffic was bad in Seattle,” said Low. “This legislation will help ensure traffic jams are not the reason a life-saving organ becomes unviable.”


Washington State House Republican Communications