CORAM - Police officers across Long Island and New York state participated in Operation Safe Stop Day Thursday.
Officials say they spent the day looking for drivers who did not stop when school buses had their red lights flashing.
The goal of Operation Safe Stop is to educate drivers about the dangers of passing stopped school buses.
The law states that a driver must stop for flashing red lights. The red flashing lights indicate the bus is picking up or dropping off students.
Police tell News 12 that an estimated 50,000 drivers across New York state disregard red lights on school buses.
"It's a death hazard,” says Officer Phil Buzzanca. “These people are driving past school buses that are stopped with little kids that really don't have any sense if they should be running in either direction."
As part of Operation Safe Stop Day, special education students in the sixth and seventh grade at Longwood Middle School performed a bus safety skit for an audience of Suffolk police officers and deputy sheriffs. The students urged drivers to slow down when school buses are stopped.
"As soon as you see the stop sign pop up from the school bus, they have to stop, and (there have) been so many incidents and you'll see today that people are ignoring that," says Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker.
The penalties for passing a school bus with its red lights flashing include a $400 fine, five points on a driver's license and the possibility of up to six months jail time.