August brings hot weather, the State Fair and also the start of a new school year.

At the beginning of every school year local and state police agencies receive complaints about motorists failing to stop for school buses.

The Indiana Department of Education surveys school corporations annually for violations on one given day, and reports those numbers to the National Association of State Directors for Pupil Transportation Services.

In 1999, there were 932 violations on one day in September. This year, on April 29, there were 2,577 violations reported in the state.

There are about 16,000 school buses traveling Indiana roads, and according to the yearly statistics, as the number of school buses on the road has increased, so has the number of violations.

Here's the rule: When approaching a school bus, from any direction, which is stopped with its flashing red lights activated and its stop arm extended, motorists are required to stop, even on multiple lane highways.

Motorists who are on a highway that is divided by a median are required to stop only if they are traveling the same direction as the school bus. If there is no median or barrier, then all lanes in all directions must stop.

When approaching a school bus always be prepared to stop and watch for stopped traffic.

And, be extra careful to make sure there are no youngsters emerging from behind or in front of the stopped bus. The problem is even more critical after the time changes and it is dark when our kids go to or come home from school.

Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a serious violation and one that school bus drivers are quick to report. Violation of the law carries a maximum fine of $10,000.