The Brown & Crouppen Legal Lens takes a closer look at everyday legal issues and gives you a better understanding of topics that may affect you.

ST. LOUIS – Back to school means buses are on the road, but what does it mean for you as a driver. This week’s Legal Lens with FOX’s 2 Vic Faust and Andrea McNairy, managing attorney at Brown & Crouppen, explains how drivers can be breaking the law.

We know we need to keep kids safe around buses, but what specifically should we be focusing on?

“It’s still statistically the safest way to get kids to school,” McNairy said. “But right now, back to school time drivers on the road unfamiliar with bus routes and times, bus drivers unfamiliar with the same and kids learning new schedule. There can be a lot of driver violations when encountering school buses that can result in child injury. It’s an important issue and incidents spike around back-to-school time. There was one Florida study, where they monitored 11,500 buses for one full day and there were about the same illegal passings. In Virginia, they monitored 115 school buses and it resulted in 3,394 violations with motorists passing buses. It’s a problem.

What is the law?

“All 50 states have some kind of law on books about stopping and yielding for school buses,” McNairy said. “The law requires you when a school bus driver is flashing the yellow lights that a bus will make a stop and extend its arm, to load or unload. At this point, motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop. The bus driver then activates the red lights, then drivers must stop their vehicles to give the bus driver time to load and unload. Drivers can’t start again until the bus driver has brought the extended arm of the bus back.

What are the penalties?

“It is everything from a misdemeanor to suspension of license and if you cause injury or death to somebody you could be charged with a felony,” McNairy said.