New Fines for Motorists Passing Schoolbuses Illegally
|Aug 11, 2016 - At its June 20, 2016 meeting (view footage and materials here), the City Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance allowing the installation of cameras on school bus stop arms, in order to deter illegal passing by private vehicles.
Under the plan, cameras would be installed on the stop arms of five school buses, and a citation would cost violators a fine of $394. Of that amount, the school district receives $299 to fund school zone safety projects, a processing fee of $69 is sent to the vendor (American Traffic Solutions), $21 will cover municipal overhead, and $5 covers the MIPD's law enforcement cost.
Every school day in the United States, more than 70,000 motorists illegally pass school buses as they stop to let students on and off. This inexcusable behavior endangers the lives of children, many of whom aren't yet as observant as adults.
In Washington State, drivers in BOTH directions must stop when the school bus stop arm is out. Exceptions to this law include situations when: the roadway has three or more marked lanes, or has a planting strip, physical divider, or painted median greater than 18 inches wide. View the state law here
The CrossingGuard safety solution mounts purpose-built cameras on the side of each school bus. When the stop arm is deployed, the camera automatically detects a vehicle illegally passing the stop arm in either direction, and captures video of the violation as well as still images of a vehicle's license plate. The violation video and license plate images will be reviewed by the MIPD for approval prior to a citation being issued.
Both the City and the Mercer Island School District have launched a public information campaign, and the camera system will go online at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, with no grace period for early violators.
Contact MIPD Commander Jokinen by Email with questions.