MARYSVILLE — The warnings are over.
The Marysville School District installed traffic-enforcement cameras on 15 school buses more than a month ago. During April, drivers caught on camera passing a stopped bus received a warning. As of Monday, they’ve faced $419 fines.
In April, 45 warnings were issued, without fines.
“It’s kind of surprising how often it happens,” Marysville schools spokeswoman Emily Wicks said. “Our drivers know this, but it was a wake-up call for us to see how many people pass school buses.”
The district contracted with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions to install the company’s CrossingGuard system. Only buses with routes entirely in the city of Marysville are outfitted with cameras, Wicks said. The school district does not have an agreement with Snohomish County to use them outside city limits. The cameras are mounted on the side and top of each bus to catch video and images.
In Washington, drivers going both directions are prohibited from passing a stopped school bus if they are on a two-lane road, or where there’s no divider between the directions of traffic. Drivers going the opposite direction of a bus do not need to stop if the road is divided by a physical barrier, or on a highway with three or more marked lanes.
Infractions captured by the cameras are treated like parking violations under state law. They don’t go on a driver’s record.
Marysville is the first school district in Snohomish County to use the cameras. In 2011, state lawmakers decided to allow traffic-enforcement cameras on school buses.
American Traffic Solutions makes $69 for each violation that its employees deem could be prosecuted. Those videos are submitted to Marysville police for review. The fee still applies if police do not cite the driver or if the citation is thrown out or reduced in court. The district was not charged during the warning period.
The Marysville Municipal Court has a $47 fee for each infraction it processes. To comply with state law, the remainder of the revenue must go toward school safety projects, such as walking routes.
At least one person contacted the district to argue that bus drivers were deploying stop paddles too soon. Like other traffic infractions, those captured by the cameras can be legally challenged if drivers feel they are unjustified, Wicks said.
American Traffic Solutions is the same vendor that provides Lynnwood’s red light cameras. Between 2007 and 2015, the red light cameras brought in more than $19 million in gross revenue. They now are the subject of a class-action lawsuit.
Marysville school officials say the bus cameras are meant to deter drivers from passing, not bring in money.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the school bus cameras is online at msd25.org/crossingguard.