Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    School Bus Stop Arm CrossingGuard Camera video
    School Bus Safety video

    When to stop when bus lights are flashing or stop bar is out

    • 2-lane roadway: both directions stop
    • 3+ lanes: stop if traveling same direction as bus
    • Turning lane: stop if traveling same direction as bus
    • Median: stop if traveling same direction as bus

    Diagram of School Bus Passing Areas. Please refer to text on webpage above the image.


    Q. Why has Seattle Public Schools implemented a School Bus Stop Arm Safety Camera Program?

    Bus drivers have reported numerous vehicles passing school buses with the stop paddle extended. It is illegal and incredibly dangerous for a vehicle to pass a stopped school bus.

    More than 400 children nationwide have been killed by drivers passing a stopped school bus over the past four decades according to the Institute for Transportation Research and Education. The goal of the program is to improve the safety and transportation of students riding school buses. We are committed to reducing violations, collisions and injuries to keep our community safe.

    From September 2016 through March 2017, the district piloted the use of stop paddle cameras on 10 randomly selected First Student buses with the purpose of obtaining data to analyze and potentially support implementation of this program in Seattle. For 112 school days, 595 vehicles dangerously passed school buses.

    Q. What is a school bus violation?

    A school bus violation occurs when a motorist passes a school bus after the school bus has come to a complete stop with its stop arm extended and lights flashing.


    • You must ALWAYS stop if you are traveling in the same direction as the school bus.
    • On a two-lane road, traffic in both directions need to stop.
    • If there are three or more lanes, or a divided roadway, you are not required to stop if you are traveling in the opposite direction of the bus.
    • Please keep in mind, that even if you are not required to stop, you need to proceed with caution.
    • Failure to stop for a school bus can run you a $419 citation.

    To read Washington’s law on stopping for school buses, you can visit the state Legislature's website.

    Q. How does this type of enforcement improve safety?

    - Violations are automatically detected allowing the bus driver to focus on the school children.

    - Photo-enforcement systems serve as a force multiplier, allowing for continuous enforcement while law enforcement officials focus on other high-priority policing needs.

    - When a school bus stops and alternating red flashing lights are active, you must stop – It’s the law.

    Q. How does the School Bus Arm Safety Camera work?

    Step 1: High-resolution cameras are installed at key locations on the exterior of the school bus.

    Step 2: When a school bus extends its stop arm, the system can automatically detect if a vehicle passes the stopped school bus within the enforced zone.

    Step 3: If a vehicle passes the school bus, the cameras capture images and video showing the violating vehicle.

    Step 4: The violation images include not only the violating vehicle as it passes the school bus, but also the vehicle’s license plate and the school bus's extended stop arm. The system also records a video of the violating vehicle as further evidence of the violation.

    Step 5: Violation data and images are then wirelessly uploaded to American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the camera system vendor for validation, processing and notice issuance.

    Step 6: A final review of the violation image and video is conducted by King County Sheriff's Office, which will approve or reject the violation.

    Q. How much is the fine?

    Violators will be assessed a $419 penalty. This is a civil penalty, no points will be assessed, no reporting to insurance companies.

    Q. What do I do if I have received a notice?

    Please visit and log on with the information provided on the notice. There are also detailed instructions on the back side of the notice.

    Translations for Camera Program Information:

    Simplified Chinese

    If you are unable to view this information and require assistance, please contact the Transportation Department by phone, at 206-252-0900 or by e-mail to