Highline Public Schools plans to ‘paddle’ school-bus-stop violators with bus-borne cameras, hefty fines

(Highline Public Schools photo)
If you ignore the “paddle” that warns you to stop when a school bus is loading/unloading – your chances of getting caught and fined have just increased dramatically. Highline Public Schools‘ news release explains why:

Highline Public Schools announced today that in its ongoing efforts to protect the safety of its students, it is the first school district in King County to implement a school bus stop paddle camera enforcement program.

The cameras, which have been installed on five buses initially, are designed to capture motorists who are putting children at risk by ignoring flashing school bus stop arms as buses load and unload school kids. The enforcement program will launch at the beginning of May, and motorists caught on camera ignoring the stop arms will face a $394 fine starting in early June – before then motorists who are caught on camera ignoring the stop arms will receive a warning.

Highline Chief Operations Officer Scott Logan was joined this morning by King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove and Highline school bus driver Loren Young at a press conference at North Hill Elementary School in Des Moines to announce the new public safety program.

“At Highline Public Schools, we take our duty to ensure the safety of our schoolchildren very seriously. Every day in our district, careless or irresponsible motorists ignore school bus stop arms, putting children boarding or exiting our school buses at risk,” Logan said. “That is why we are so happy to announce the start of our school bus stop arm camera enforcement program, the first of its kind in King County. By catching motorists who are ignoring the requirement to stop when the stop paddles are blinking, we believe we can reduce the number of these incidents and better protect the children in our care.”

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, the prime sponsor of legislation at the King County Council to enable Highline to move forward, also praised the effort.

“Every year, children getting on or off school buses are killed by careless and irresponsible drivers who ignore school bus stop signs,” Upthegrove said. “That’s why when I was in the legislature I supported the bill to allow enforcement cameras on school buses and it is why I sponsored legislation at the King County Council to establish this program. We need to stop these drivers who are putting our kids at risk.”

Highline school bus drivers, who routinely see motorists ignoring their school bus stop arms and putting the kids in their care at risk, also expressed their support for the newly launched effort.

“I have been a school bus driver in the Highline School District for 30 years. Every week on my route, I see drivers who fail to stop as kids get on or off my bus. In those situations, my first priority is to keep my kids from being hurt, so I rarely am able to get the license plates of these irresponsible drivers. But with the stop paddles cameras in place on my bus, I know we will finally be able to catch the bad actors who are ignoring my school bus stop paddle,” said Highline school bus driver Loren Young.

While the announcement happened in Des Moines, the buses to use the cameras will be on routes in other communities, including White Center, the district tells us.

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