This week is national School Bus Safety Week and the Cowichan Valley School District, along with the local RCMP detachment, are teaming up to keep students safe in and around school buses.

“We are out following buses whenever we can,” says Const. Pam Bolton of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. "Just remember if the lights are flashing, don’t be passing.”

The project is called Bus Watch and police will be following school bus routes throughout the district to ensure drivers are not passing buses when it’s lights and stop signs are flashing.

Carol Combs has been a school bus driver for School District 79 for 15 years and has seen several close calls with students almost being struck by drivers not obeying the signs.

“If you see a school bus, take notice,” says Combs. “Watch the lights. It could be your kids on the bus.”

Drivers who fail to stop for a school bus could face a fine of $368 as well as three demerit points against their license.

Last year, the project issued five tickets and one warning to drivers.

Police are reminding drivers that they must stop in both directions when a school bus activates it’s amber lights, which then engages the buses flashing stop signs and crossing arm.