Drivers that haven’t been stopping for school kids now is the time to start— before it costs you.
Renton School District is going to start collecting $419 fines on those who pass school buses illegally in the Stop Paddle Camera Program.
Since September, 25 buses (a quarter of the district’s fleet) have been equipped with cameras to catch reckless drivers that pass buses as students try to enter and exit. The district chose buses that go through neighborhoods with high occurrences of these offenses.
“We know drivers today are more distracted than ever, which can cause safety concerns when our students are getting on and off our school buses,” the district states on its website.
Starting Monday, Nov. 4, drivers will have a 30-day grace period where they receive a warning. After that, it’s tickets.
School bus safety laws state that a vehicle cannot pass a bus when the stop paddle and cross bar are engaged, and its red lights flash. The only exception is on roads with three or more lanes of traffic or a divided roadway. In those situations, only lanes going the same direction as the bus are required to stop.
The cameras will turn on when the bus is making a stop, and detect if a vehicle moves pass within the illegal zone. The footage is then monitored by the camera company, Verra Mobility, and sent to King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO). The $419 fine will then be issued to the driver within 14 days, as well as a link to video of the incident. Violators cannot reduce the fine with a driving course and can’t defer payment. Fines will not be part of the violator’s driving record, similar to a parking ticket.
The district website states that all program costs should be covered by the fines, and additional revenues will go to student safety programs.
The company installing the cameras charges the district $69 per photo processed and sent to law enforcement, or $675 per camera system. The district also compensates KCSO for costs of deputies’ hours and services related to the paddle program, according to an agreement between the entities, and also reimburses the county for issuing tickets and prosecuting.
KCSO and King County Court system issue all citations. KCSO can be reached at (206) 296-3311 or the King County Court at (206) 205-9200.