Legislation to improve the safety of Washington’s school children was signed into law on Monday, May 16 by Gov. Gregoire.
Senate Bill 5540, sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, will give the state’s school districts the option to install safety cameras on school bus stop signs in an effort to catch motorists who fail to stop for them.
The cameras will record only when the stop signs are deployed while children are entering or exiting the bus. Under current law, bus drivers need to identify the make, model and year of the car, as well as identifying characteristics of the driver such as gender, age, hair color. This information is necessary for a successful prosecution of a violation against the driver of the vehicle.
“Our state has been lucky in that no children have been killed by motorists ignoring these stop signs,” Sen. Hobbs said. “The same cannot be said around the nation. This is a preventive measure. We shouldn’t wait until one of our kids is hurt before doing something about it.”
Fines collected from those running stop signs will first go to paying for the installation of the cameras. Additional funds will go toward improving the state’s school safety zones.