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State law will allow cameras on school buses
Public hearing on new rules to be held Oct. 7

OLYMPIA - September 28, 2011 - A new state law may make it easier to catch drivers who neglect school bus stop signs.

The law allows school districts to voluntarily install automated camera systems on school buses. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is revising its School Bus Specifications Manual to include the new law.

A public meeting on the revisions will be held at 2 p.m., Oct. 7, 2011, in the OSPI building in Olympia.

Substitute Senate Bill 5540, passed by the 2011 Legislature, allows the use of cameras on school buses to identify vehicles illegally passing school buses when students are entering or leaving those buses. The law restricts the camera system to only take pictures of the vehicle and vehicle license plate and not of the driver or any passengers.

The camera systems must be approved by a majority vote of school board members before they can be installed.

Fines from tickets generated through the cameras are identical to fines given by police officers (currently $394). The revenue generated from the automated tickets may be used to offset the cost of the purchase of the camera system and for administrative costs. Any funds remaining are returned to the school district to be used for school zone safety projects.

State law gives OSPI the authority to govern the design, marking and mode of operation of public school buses in Washington state. The agency has proposed the following specification for the camera systems:

Automated Safety Camera

  1. May be photo, micro-photo or electronic images
  2. Images must be legible in any lighting condition without use of visible flash
  3. Cameras may be mounted inside or outside the bus, if outside must not extend over six inches out from the side of the bus
  4. Shall verify the “STOP” sign is deployed and red lights are flashing at time of detection
  5. Shall capture the rear license plate, from either direction, at the time an illegally passing vehicle is detected
  6. May be located on the left and/or the right side of the bus
  7. Shall capture images only of the lanes immediately to the left and/or the right of the bus
  8. Shall not be driver activated or distract the driver during operation
  9. Shall not obstruct the driver’s direct line of sight in any direction

The Oct. 7 meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the details of the specification language. Comments dated on or before Oct. 7 may be provided electronically to Allan Jones, the Director of Student Transportation at or by mail at:

Allan J. Jones
Director of Student Transportation
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
PO Box 47200
Olympia WA 98504-7200


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015

Assessment Communications Manager
Chris Barron
(360) 725-6032


   Updated 6/12/2015

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