BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)

This is National School Bus Safety Week.

In Belmont County, when the school buses roll this week–mornings and afternoons–there will be an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper nearby.

Sgt. Rocky Hise says you need to drive like your kids were on that school bus.

He says anyone passing a stopped school bus will not only meet a trooper, they’ll have a mandatory court appearance before a judge.

“Passing a stopped bus is taken very seriously,” said Sgt. Hise. “That’s comparable to a reckless operation charge. And the fine can be hundreds of dollars.”

He said troopers are also looking for other school bus related violations, like following a bus too closely, driving recklessly or driving distracted around a bus.

He said when troopers follow buses, it seems to deter drivers from illegally passing the bus or tailgating it.

“The future generation is our most important asset, and we should do everything in our power to ensure their safety,” he said.