Police emphasize school bus safety after 7-year-old hit crossing the street in Gaithersburg

A driver trying to pass a school bus hit a 7-year-old crossing the street. The child is now in the hospital, and Montgomery County Police are urging residents to be aware of traffic safety, especially when it comes to school buses.

Police say the 7-year-old girl is still in serious condition. The incident happened on Walkers Choice Road in Gaithersburg. Police say a driver ignored the bus' stop sign and flashing lights on Tuesday afternoon, hitting the child who was crossing the street.

READ MORE: Car hits child in Bethesda: 7-year-old boy dies from injuries sustained after being hit by car at bus stop

Charges are pending for the driver. The child remains in the hospital with serious injuries. 

Maryland State Police say any time a child gets hit, it raises a concern.

MSP spokesperson Ron Snyder says it's timely to remind people that traffic is picking up now that kids are heading back to school.

READ MORE: 7-year-old boy in serious condition after hit-and-run crash in DC; driver ID'd as 11-year-old boy

In the state of Maryland, if you are on the opposite side of a road that is separated by some type of physical barrier such as grass or a median, you can drive, but with caution. The same law applies in Virginia and D.C.

If there is not a barrier, you must stop. Snyder says even when the bus driver turns off their lights, give it a second.

"You got to remember, especially with children, their brains aren't really developed at this point and time," he says. "They are really quick to run up the street, real quick to not look both ways crossing the street. It's up to motorists to make sure they're extra safe to make sure the children get home safely."

READ MORE: 3-month-old infant dies in DC after being left in hot car

Anyone who is caught breaking the law will get a fine starting at $250 and in some cases, a 3-point penalty on your driver's license.

Montgomery County Police say in 2021, more than 36,700 bus camera citations were issued. Since Jan. 1 of this year, there have been more than 32,000.