|Washington Legislature Passes Bill Strengthening Ability to Catch Illegal School Bus Passers|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Thursday, 21 April 2011 15:58|
Both the Washington state House and Senate recently passed legislation that not only requires a one-day count of illegal passers of school buses but that also allows school districts to equip stop arms with surveillance cameras.
Senate Bill 5540 heads to Gov. Chris Gregoire for signature.
Another provision allows law enforcement to issue a tickets for illegally passing stopped school buses to the owner of the violating vehicle, regardless if the owner was driving the vehicle or not. The fine is $394 per offense. After administrative costs are taken, individual school districts will receive the balance of the revenue for use in school zone safety projects. Allan J. Jones, the director of pupil transportation and fingerprinting at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, said one senator originally wanted the fine to be $1,000.
While he had yet to hear from districts that were interested in the stop arm cameras, Jones added that he was certain that many districts would take advantage of the equipment. But cost remains an issue. He said certain details of the bill remained to be solved, such as if districts would need to install the cameras on all of their buses or if they would have the leeway to equip only buses on problem routes.
The bill originated at the request of a school bus driver and a public service employee union. Only four lawmakers cast nay votes as the legislation made its way to Gov. Gregoire’s desk. It also mirrors a project undertaken by NASDPTS to encourage states to hold one-day illegal passer counts similar to those in place for years in places like New York and North Carolina.
The proposed name of the Washington event is “May Day, May Day… Your Kids are in Danger,” and it is slated to be held May 1, 2012 to allow districts adequate time to include details in school bus driver in-service training for next school year. During the event, which will take place annually, Jones said drivers would not need to complete the current violation report that notes the driver’s physical characteristics.
“And that’s real frustrating because the cops don’t respond to [the report], anyway,” Jones said.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 21 April 2011 16:12|