Police look for drivers violating school bus laws

by: Maria Guerrero Updated:

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MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. —

One King County city sent police officers out to protect children and school buses Monday.

Maple Valley had undercover officers trailing school buses in an effort to curb violations.

A school bus camera in West Virginia captured a driver nearly hitting a boy.

In 2011, Washington State passed a law allowing school districts to place cameras outside school buses, but the bus cams have not caught on yet.

So Monday, police followed school buses looking to catch drivers breaking the law.

Several officers watched Maple Valley Monday morning, including state trooper, Lt. Ken Noland.

"We've seen a rash of drivers ignoring the (stop) paddle," said Noland.

Bus drivers in the Tahoma School District report 50 violations a month of drivers ignoring safety paddles to stop.

Driver Debbie Tynes said it happens all the time.

“I see a lot of people running our stop signs even on the right side trying to get around the doors that's where the kids are getting off.  It's very scary because I can't stop them. I can honk my horn at them and stuff and they'll just and then they'll keep going,” said Tynes.

Noland said many drivers tell him they simply don’t know when they’re supposed to stop.

"(When there’s a) two-lane roadway, one lane in each direction, both lanes have to stop," he said.

If there are three or more lanes, only those traveling in the same direction need to stop.

On Monday morning, no drivers broke the law while officers were watching.

"If it just makes a difference one time, that's well worth it," said Noland.

Violators who don't stop could get a fine of nearly $400.

The Highline School District is doing a test of the school bus cameras, but many districts have decided the cameras are too expensive. 

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