If you’ve ever thought about racing around a stopped school bus when late for work, you might soon find yourself caught on camera.
The Bethel School District in Spanaway may be the first to install three tiny cameras on the stop-arm mounted on school buses. The school board approved the idea and the district hopes to install the cameras by the end of the school year.
“Our drivers need to focus on student safety,” said Karen Campbell, Transportation Director. “They are not always able to see a license plate.”
The Washington state Legislature passed a bill allowing the cameras. Ever since, districts have mulled over the idea, but most are waiting to see how the process will work.
The Bethel School District may be the guinea pig, of sorts. School transportation officials are working out final details like who will review the video, where is it stored and how can it be used in court.
“We are going to meet with our School Resource Officer to see if they have time in their day to do it,” Campbell said.
Drivers say every day someone passes the bus illegally. And such a rural district, totaling over 200 square miles, the cameras will be an extra set of eyes.
“People just go right by you like you aren't flashing or nothing,” said Nancy Koecke, a 14-year bus driver. “Hopefully this will help.”
Cameras will be operated by American Traffic Solutions, which also operates red light cameras. The fines attached to a violation would total $394, with half of the money going back to the district.