A bill that would double the fine for drivers who endanger pedestrians or bicyclists in school zone crosswalks cleared the Senate today by a unanimous vote.
Half of the money collected from the infractions would be deposited into the School Zone Safety Account. The current fine is $124.
Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, said he introduced the bill last month after some crossing guards came to him with their concerns.
They say they’ve had too many close calls with drivers and are worried about both the safety of students and themselves.
“This bill was brought to me by a group of people that have a very important job,” Marr said. “And those are the folks that make sure our kids get to school safely in the morning and back home again at night.”
Of the 49 Kent School District crossing guards who responded to an online survey put out by the Public School Employees of Washington, more than half say they experience “crosswalk safety issues” several times per week.
In another survey, 60 percent of the crossing guards that responded from 13 school districts around the state say they experience “safety issues” several times per week.
Under the proposed legislation, crossing guards older than 18 would be allowed to report violators and prepare written reports for law enforcement personnel.
The hope is that the bill could be as effective as the legislation passed in 1997 that doubled the penalty for drivers who pass a bus illegally when the “Stop” paddle is extended.
“This is another way of saying, ‘If you’re driving a car, you need to pay attention,'” said Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima.