OLYMPIA, Wash. — After a one-day survey counted more than 1,500 stop-arm violations in Washington, state Superintendent Randy Dorn is calling attention to the issue and recommending that school districts consider stop-arm cameras to catch violators.
As part of the 2013 national stop-arm running survey, 3,588 school bus drivers in 110 Washington districts tallied 1,523 instances of illegal passing on May 1.
Extrapolating the data to the state’s 295 districts and for a 180-day school year, the total would come to nearly 550,000 violations.
Officials said that the most disturbing finding of the May 1 survey was that there were 32 instances of cars passing school buses on the right — the side on which students enter and exit.
“Passing stopped school buses remains a serious problem,” Dorn said. “Every violation represents a potential accident and potential injury to a student.”
In 2011, legislation was passed that gave Washington districts the authority to equip school buses with cameras so stop-arm violators can be recorded and ticketed.
“I urge districts to look into whether installing the cameras is the right thing for that community,” Dorn said.
Despite the estimated hundreds of thousands of stop-arm violations per school year, no children were killed in stopped school bus incidents in Washington in 2012 or 2011.
“That’s a testament to the training and professionalism of the 11,000 bus drivers in our state,” Dorn said. “They take the safety of our schoolchildren very seriously. I hope these numbers help drivers do the same.”