A new campaign has launched in the US in a bid to educate drivers about the dangers of illegally passing stopped school buses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched the initiative, which will run through October 31.

“Passing a stopped school bus is against the law and could have fatal consequences,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson.

“Nothing is worth the risk. Children’s lives are on the line – every driver needs to stop when a school-bus stop arm is extended.”

The NHTSA said the greatest risk to a child isn’t riding a school bus but boarding or leaving one. From 2010 to 2019, there were 1.6 times more fatalities among pedestrians than occupants of school transportation vehicles.

Every State and the District of Columbia have laws requiring drivers to stop when a school-bus stop arm is extended.

In the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services’ 2019 Stop Arm survey, 130,963 school bus drivers reported that 95,319 vehicles passed their buses illegally on a single day. Throughout a 180-day school year, these sample results point to more than 17 million violations among America’s driving public.

School bus safety tips are available online on the NHTSA’s School Bus Safety page.

NHTSA’s 2020 School-Transportation-Related Crashes Traffic Safety Facts provides additional statistics on school bus safety.