(1) School districts may install and operate automated school bus safety cameras on school buses to be used for the detection of violations of RCW 46.61.370
(1) if the use of the cameras is approved by a vote of the school district board of directors. School districts are not required to take school buses out of service if the buses are not equipped with automated school bus safety cameras or functional automated safety cameras. Further, school districts shall be held harmless from and not liable for any criminal or civil liability arising under the provisions of this section.
(a) Automated school bus safety cameras may only take pictures of the vehicle and vehicle license plate and only while an infraction is occurring. The picture must not reveal the face of the driver or of passengers in the vehicle.
(b) A notice of infraction must be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle within fourteen days of the violation, or to the renter of a vehicle within fourteen days of establishing the renter's name and address under subsection (2)(a)(i) of this section. The law enforcement officer issuing the notice of infraction shall include a certificate or facsimile of the notice, based upon inspection of photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images produced by an automated school bus safety camera, stating the facts supporting the notice of infraction. This certificate or facsimile is prima facie evidence of the facts contained in it and is admissible in a proceeding charging a violation under this chapter. The photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images evidencing the violation must be available for inspection and admission into evidence in a proceeding to adjudicate the liability for the infraction. A person receiving a notice of infraction based on evidence detected by an automated school bus safety camera may respond to the notice by mail.
(c) The registered owner of a vehicle is responsible for an infraction under RCW 46.63.030
(1)(e) unless the registered owner overcomes the presumption in RCW 46.63.075
, or, in the case of a rental car business, satisfies the conditions under subsection (2) of this section. If appropriate under the circumstances, a renter identified under subsection (2)(a)(i) of this section is responsible for an infraction.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images prepared under this section are for the exclusive use of law enforcement in the discharge of duties under this section and are not open to the public and may not be used in a court in a pending action or proceeding unless the action or proceeding relates to a violation under this section. No photograph, microphotograph, or electronic image may be used for any purpose other than enforcement of violations under this section nor retained longer than necessary to enforce this section.
(e) If a school district installs and operates an automated school bus safety camera under this section, the compensation paid to the manufacturer or vendor of the equipment used must be based only upon the value of the equipment and services provided or rendered in support of the system, and may not be based upon a portion of the fine or civil penalty imposed or the revenue generated by the equipment. Further, any repair, replacement, or administrative work costs related to installing or repairing automated school bus safety cameras must be solely paid for by the manufacturer or vendor of the cameras. Before entering into a contract with the manufacturer or vendor of the equipment used under this subsection (1)(e), the school district must follow the competitive bid process as outlined in RCW 28A.335.190
(f) Any revenue collected from infractions detected through the use of automated school bus safety cameras, less the administration and operating costs of the cameras, must be remitted to school districts for school zone safety projects as determined by the school district using the automated school bus safety cameras. The administration and operating costs of the cameras includes infraction enforcement and processing costs that are incurred by local law enforcement or local courts. During the 2013-2015 fiscal biennium, the infraction revenue may also be used for school bus safety projects by those school districts eligible to apply for funding from the school zone safety account appropriation in section 201, chapter 306, Laws of 2013.
(2)(a) If the registered owner of the vehicle is a rental car business, the law enforcement agency shall, before a notice of infraction is issued under this section, provide a written notice to the rental car business that a notice of infraction may be issued to the rental car business if the rental car business does not, within eighteen days of receiving the written notice, provide to the issuing agency by return mail:
(i) A statement under oath stating the name and known mailing address of the individual driving or renting the vehicle when the infraction occurred;
(ii) A statement under oath that the business is unable to determine who was driving or renting the vehicle at the time the infraction occurred because the vehicle was stolen at the time of the infraction. A statement provided under this subsection (2)(a)(ii) must be accompanied by a copy of a filed police report regarding the vehicle theft; or
(iii) In lieu of identifying the vehicle operator, the rental car business may pay the applicable penalty.
(b) Timely mailing of a statement under this subsection to the issuing law enforcement agency relieves a rental car business of any liability under this chapter for the notice of infraction.
(3) For purposes of this section, "automated school bus safety camera" means a device that is affixed to a school bus that is synchronized to automatically record one or more sequenced photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images of the rear of a vehicle at the time the vehicle is detected for an infraction identified in RCW 46.61.370
Effective date—2013 c 306:
See note following RCW 47.64.170
Intent—2011 c 375:
"The legislature recognizes that the safe transportation of children to and from school is a shared responsibility of the school district and the driving public. In order to increase public awareness of their responsibility, it is the intent of the legislature that the state superintendent of public instruction coordinate with school districts and any other relevant agencies who voluntarily choose to participate in a national stop arm violation day annually between March 1st and May 15th." [ 2011 c 375 § 1.