Washington state superintendent backs stop-arm cameras

Thomas McMahon
Posted on September 13, 2013

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.”

Related Topics: stop-arm running/illegal passing, video surveillance, Washington

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Jerry

     | about 4 years ago

    On way to eliminate completely any injuries or deasth a a result of a car running the school bus Stop Arm is to eliminate the stop arto gether, and go with just right side pick-ups and drop-offs. Expensive? What's a students life worth? City and municiple bus services only drop off on the right side. Grade 7 and 8 and all high school students in the City of Ottawa, Canada's capital, ride the city buses. Nobody has been injuried or killed. How about that. Out attempts to make our children's safe has endangered them.

More Stories

Driver Message Sign

The Driver Alert Message Sign is designed to help reduce illegal passing of school buses by improving direct line of sight visibility for oncoming drivers.


School Bus Driver Suspended After Bathroom Break to Keep Job

A New Jersey superintendent’s call to fire Gaye Kish for using her phone, having a friend board her bus, and taking a bathroom break during her route is rejected by the board of education. Kish cites a medical condition as the reason for taking the break.


Convertible Seating Solution

Blue Bird Corp. and HSM’s convertible NextGen seat allows the customer to change the seat back frame to have three-point belts or child restraints without having to purchase new seats.

A <I>PBS NewsHour</i> piece looks at the safety benefits and financial concerns involved in the issue of seat belts on school buses.

PBS Probes School Bus Seat Belt Debate

The PBS NewsHour piece looks at safety benefits and financial concerns involved in the issue. Interviews include transportation directors and NHTSA’s former administrator.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!