• Run a school bus stop sign, get a $400 fine

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    SPANAWAY, Wash. - Drivers who put children on school buses in danger will be slapped with a $400 fine.

    The grace period is over for drivers who pass stopped school buses in the Bethel School District.

    The district has slowly been rolling the program out since August, then in the fall putting the cameras on ten buses and letting people know they were going to start recording, but not ticketing.

    The way it works: When the school bus stop sign arm extends, a camera on the side of the bus behind the sign snaps a picture and records video of a driver’s license plate if they run the sign.

    In one week during the trial period, cameras on five of the buses caught a total of 23 stop paddle violations.

    The company behind the cameras says ticketing changes behavior.  American Traffic Solutions says their data shows once a driver is ticketed, 99 percent of the time the driver is never ticketed again.

     That's what the Bethel bus drivers are hoping.

    “I'm supposed to be their safety net. I'm supposed to get them home safe, and with cars running paddles and not paying attention, it's terrifying,” said bus driver Dawn Rowell.

    Rowell said a nearly $400 ticket for running the paddle will be a good deterrent.

    Most of that money goes to the school district.  About $70 goes back to the company which provides the equipment for free.

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