School bus cameras on hold in Evergreen district

Evergreen Public School District installed “CrossingGuard” cameras on 6 buses in 2015/2016 school year

A driver ignores a school bus stop light in this photo from American Traffic Solutions
A driver ignores a school bus stop light in this photo from American Traffic Solutions

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A program to install cameras on school buses in the Evergreen Public School District to capture drivers who run school bus stop signs was put on hold due to a partnership problem between the district and law enforcement.

The Evergreen Public School District installed “CrossingGuard” cameras on its six of its buses in the 2015/2016 school year. Between September 2, 2015 and Nov. 4, 2015, the cameras captured 80 stop-arm violations in 44 school days, according to data provided by American Traffic Solutions.

“Although the results of the pilot program were promising, without the participation of local law enforcement agencies in the ticketing process, the District did not move forward with the program,” district spokesperson Gail Spolar said in a prepared statement.

Spolar said the district tried to work with Vancouver Police, Clark County Sheriff and the Washington State Patrol. She said each agency turned the district down from expanding the camera program for “varied reasons from staffing, to resources, to jurisdiction, to department priorities.”

KOIN 6 News has reached out to all three agencies to get responses.

Sgt. Fred Neiman, a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office, said he needed to speak with the agency’s traffic unit to get more information on the district’s request. He added that school bus drivers in Washington can report stop-arm violators. Drivers have to fill out a citation form and give it to law enforcement. From there, police can cite the driver based solely on the sworn testimony of the school bus driver.

KOIN 6 News has learned, though, that the process is difficult. The drivers must capture a good description of the vehicle, the license plate and then must be able to describe the circumstances. Often times, because the driver is focused on making sure children are safe, the required information isn’t available.

In Washington it is a $419 violation to run a school bus stop arm when extended and flashing.

Several years ago, Washington lawmakers gave school district the authority to “install and operate automated school bus safety cameras on school buses to be used for the detection” of stop arm violators.

The Vancouver Police Department told KOIN 6 News they were aware of the district’s pilot program but “due to staffing,” the agency was unable to follow through. Police said they would like to “revisit” the program in the future, and are committed to enforcing laws aimed at protecting children. The department said they will work with the district on how to “make the program work.”

CBS News This Morning recently reported on the problems other school districts are having across the United States.

Below, a 2015 letter on the issue from Clark County Sheriff Chuck E. Atkins

Comments are closed.