Bethel School District bus cameras help police ticket hundreds of drivers

The Bethel School District installed cameras on the stop arms of some of their their buses two years ago. (Photo: KOMO News)

GRAHAM, Wash. - More districts are heading back to class which means more school buses on the roads.

In Pierce County, are helping police catch drivers who ignore the bus stop signs. The Bethel School District installed cameras on the stop arms of some of their their buses two years ago.

"We probably have over 500 tickets," said Karen Campbell, Bethel School District's Transportation Director. "It's amazing, yeah."

That's an average of two tickets per day since they were installed. And that's just those caught ignoring the stop arm there for children's safety.

Just 10 of the district's 200 buses have the cameras, so they said the can't catch everything.

Campbell said in 2015, one driver almost hit three students as it tried to pass the bus on the right.

Bethel Superintendent Tom Seigel said all drivers need to be more aware.

"In last year's school year, we had a total of 10 bus accidents," said Seigel. "Of the 10 bus accidents, eight of them were cars running into the rear of a bus and think about that - how do you manage to miss a school bus ?"

In the other two, one driver side-swapped a bus and a second driver t-boned a bus.

Seigel said none of those crashes caused any injuries and none of their bus drivers were found to be at fault.

A state panel is now looking at the possibility of adding a second stop arm to the backs of buses to make it more visible to drivers, which some states have already done.

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