School buses to have yellow light cameras

October 19th, 2012 by Ken

They’re every where. those ubiquitous yellow school buses.   There’s nothing so frustrating as to be on your way to work and be caught behind a school bus, as it slowly moves down the road, stopping to pick up or discharge, its load of children.

It’s extremely difficult to get around them when they’re moving and its illegal to get around them when they’re stopped.   But, the temptation is always there.  Sometimes the temptation is so great, that some drivers attempt to get around the bus when they shouldn’t.

In most cases, that’s against the law and the school bus driver can get the license number and report the violation to the police.  That, however is difficult for the bus driver to do, while at the same time watching the children.

So far this year, school bus drivers in the North Thurston school district reported 14  violations in just the first two days of school.  No one has been charged with the $394 fine.

Enter – – red light cameras – – or should we call them – – yellow light cameras.

North Thurston Public Schools and the City of Lacey are considering an agreement to install cameras on school buses, to spot those who illegally pass school buses when amber lights flash and the “STOP” paddle is out.  The proposal is to place three cameras on the school buses, two still and one video, to capture the license plates of those who illegally pass school buses.

The pictures will be reviewed by the Lacey Police Department, similarly to the red light camera infractions currently in place.   A ticket will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.   Under current state law, the cost of the ticket cannot be reduced and the registered owner of the vehicle is responsible for the ticket no matter who was driving.

Half of the money will go to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the other half will remain local.

The proposal before the Lacey City Council and the North Thurston school board calls for buses on 10 routes to be equipped with the cameras.  These routes include:  College Street, Pacific Avenue, Ruddell Road,  Sleater Kinney, Dutterow,  and other high traffic areas.  North Thurston schools currently has 75 bus routes.

The pilot program, if approved, will go into effect in the fall of this year after an extensive public education program.   The launch date is tentatively set for September 21, 2013.



Posted in Government, Informational, The Real News

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