SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- The Marysville School District, in Western Washington is using technology to catch drivers who are illegally passing stopped school buses.
The district installed cameras on its buses to deter drivers from passing stopped school buses. Violators will then face a $419 ticket.
Byron Schneider has been a bus driver at East Valley public school district for four years. He says on his route, he'll see drivers pass him illegally three to four times a week.
"When I see somebody running a stop paddle my first look is to where the kids are. If I've got kids off the bus, I make sure they are staying put in a safe spot," said Schneider.
On Thursday, bus drivers took a national survey where they reported how many vehicles pass their stopped school bus. The numbers from the survey won't be available for a few weeks, but in 2016, 137 participating school districts in Washington reported 1,568 violations. That's about average for the last four years. East Valley school district reported five in 2016. Schneider said there are so many more violations that happen and they are unable to report them.
"When your first priority is making sure your kids are safe and not in harm’s way, you don't have time to take any descriptions or licenses,” he said.
East Valley only has cameras on the inside of their buses to monitor students. Schneider said if their buses had cameras on the outside that would help him report a lot more drivers and hopefully encourage less illegal passing.
Spokane and West Valley Public schools do not currently have plans to implement a program like the one in Marysville, but both also agree that drivers illegally passing a stopped bus is a problem in their area as well.