The new school year is underway and that means more school buses are out and about. The Missoula Police Department says folks need to be cautious when they are driving near school buses. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

“As a bus is pulling up to a stop, those flashing yellows may start,” Welsh said. “When the bus reaches its location and it does stop, those flashing red lights will start and that stop sign will fold out. That will give drivers in both directions a clear signal that they need to stop.”

According to Welsh, it is really important that drivers pay attention and follow the rules.

“The last thing we want is for a child to step out from in front of or behind a bus and be struck by a passing vehicle who has ignored those signals,” Welsh said. “You have to watch for those. You have to obey those flashing red lights and those folding stop signs on the school buses. Watch out for those little kids.”

In Montana, you are required by law to stop in both directions for a stopped school bus. You must stop at least 30 feet behind the bus and you're not allowed to pass until the lights are completely turned off. The only time you're allowed to pass a stopped school bus is when you're traveling in the opposite direction, and the road must be separated by a median.