October is School Bus Safety Week. From October 16 to 20, public safety officials focus on the importance of laws and regulations designed to keep kids who ride buses safe.

The theme of this year’s campaign, #STOP ON RED! doesn’t suggest that drivers not only stop at stop signs, and red lights but also the red flashing lights on school buses. The law demands it.

Children getting on and off the bus depend on you to do the right thing. You must STOP at the flashing red lights and the extended stop arm. It is the law! Do not pull in front of the bus or pass the bus before the bus gives the go-ahead by turning off the lights and pulling back the arm.

Although motorists may be on the other side of the street from the bus, they must stop unless there is a physical barrier between the two lanes. Children will cross the street after getting off the bus. The same holds true when children are boarding buses. Children are not paying attention to motorists. They are worried about getting to and on the bus in time. It is the motorist’s responsibility to stop and yield to bus riders.

There are penalties for the drivers who disregard the law and put children at risk. Drivers who pass a school bus while the lights are flashing and the stop arm extended could receive a $570 fine and 3 points. For motorists who stop and proceed before the bus lights have stopped, the fine is $570 and 3 points. Drivers who fail to stop and cause an accident may face additional charges.

Observe School Bus Safety Week by stopping when bus lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended. Our children depend on us for their safety.