The big, red stop sign on the side of the school bus is clear enough.

But every day, roughly 50,000 drivers in New York ignore that sign and pass a stopped school bus.

"What's at stake here is the fact that we do have children that have the possibility of being injured or killed loading or unloading a school bus.  We're trained the students if they cross correctly, its going to be safe," said South Lewis Central School District Transportation Supervisor Mike Hanno.

That means when the lights come on, slow down, and then stop. 

To remind drivers of this important law, 'Operation Safe Stop Day' was created 20 years ago. 

Law enforcement officials are on the lookout for motorists illegally passing school buses.

We all know it can be frustrating to get stuck behind a school bus, especially during the morning commute. 

But, if if you break the law and pass a stopped bus, you'll pay a big price.

A first offense for passing a bus is a maximum fine of $400 and up to 30 days in jail. 

The punishment increases from there for additional offenses.

The good news is, if you're patient, you'll usually get a chance to pass a bus legally.

"When buses pick up students and there are cars behind them, they will pull over to the side, stop and let cars pass," said Hanno.

If you get stuck behind the same bus every day, Hanno says simply adjust your schedule and you'll likely avoid getting held up.