PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– National School Bus Safety Week is this week, and local school officials are focused on educating communities about the dangers of not knowing the rules regarding school buses.

At least 6,000 students in Bay County rely on the school bus to get to and from school.

This year, the theme is ‘Be Safe, Know The Danger Zone’.

The danger zone is the area immediately surrounding the school bus.

Bay District Schools Safety Training Officer, Gary Montoya, said it is important that children riding the bus are aware to look both ways and wait for the bus driver to signal for them to cross. Montoya also stressed that children should act on the school bus as they would in the classroom to not distract the driver, and also to fasten their seatbelts.

Although National School Bus Safety Week is just a week long, Montoya believes that folks driving should think cautiously about driving near school buses year round.

The biggest problem he said they encounter as bus drivers is people running red lights.

“A child was almost struck last week from someone who refused to stop, and it could have been a very different story,” Montoya said.

Montoya also wants drivers to know when there is a median or barrier in the center of the road, traffic going the opposite direction can continue but everybody traveling the same direction of the school bus needs to stop.

Bay District Schools is also still looking for bus drivers. You can find more information about the job here.