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    New District Initiative Aims to Improve Student Safety
    Posted on 09/18/2017
    School bus stop sign. Photo by John Tornow

    Seattle Public Schools is launching a new initiative to keep the 23,000 students using school transportation a lot safer. Read more about our Student Safety Stop Arm Camera Program initiative

    We have partnered with King County and American Traffic Solutions to deter drivers from illegally passing buses that are loading and unloading students.

    Exterior cameras have been added to 120 of the 379 First Student buses that transport our students each day. The cameras capture video of vehicles that appear to be illegally passing the bus when its stop paddle is fully extended. The King County Sheriff’s Office reviews the footage provided by the American Traffic Solutions cameras to confirm the traffic violation occurred.

    The cameras began operation today, Sept. 18. Drivers captured on video now through Oct. 1, 2017, will receive a warning letter to educate them about the new program.

    Starting Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, the King County Sheriff’s Office will begin issuing $419 citations to vehicle owners that have violated the state’s stop paddle safety law. Visit the Washington State Legislature website to read the text of state law RW 46.61.370.

    The district's transportation office has been sharing educational brochures at community events. This information is available online in Amharic, Chinese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

    The safety of students is a top district priority. To better understand what is happening locally, the district piloted the stop paddle safety program on 10 school buses traveling the busiest routes. Over that 112-day period, nearly 600 vehicles illegally passed the bus when the stop paddle was in use.

    The School Board approved the use of the exterior cameras during its July 5, 2017, meeting.