CMPD, CMS make changes to keep kids safe

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Tens of thousands of students across the Charlotte area will be headed back to school Monday.

That means extra cars, carpools and buses joining the normal traffic on the roads.

Channel 9 anchor Natalie Pasquarella investigated the worst traffic trouble spots that drivers can expect starting Monday.

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Pasquarella found out how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police plan to keep kids safe as they head back to school.

"There's going to be a lot of buses, a lot of extra traffic on the streets around the schools," said CMPD Officer Craig Allen.

Allen told Channel 9 its motorcycle unit will be very active, specifically near schools.

“In the school zones, it’s something we hadn’t been using all summer and it’s time to start paying attention again,” Craig said.

CMS has 125,000 students using planned bus routes this year.

CMS Resources:

CMS school bus safety
School bus stop law
Eligibility to ride school bus
Severe weather procedure

New this year, it has installed cameras on the outside of two buses to record people who pass stopped school buses.

"The camera will be able to identify the profile of the driver as the car passes,” said CMS Safety and Training Specialist Devery Peterson.

"Some people will stop and some won't, and we don't want those rear-end collisions occurring because of that,” Craig said.

More drivers also means more congestion in spots that already see backups. One of those spots is at Exit 28 in Cornelius where crews are constructing a new traffic pattern.

In Ballantyne, there is concern over construction near Marvin Road and Johnston Road, which is close to two schools. Work is expected to wrap up Friday, but if not, It could cause a mess.
 
CMS officials said the fine for passing a stopped school bus starts at $500, but if there is any injury or death because of the violation, drivers could be charged with a felony.

Channel 9 has you covered on Monday morning on TV and on wsoctv.com.

Tune in starting at 4:30 a.m. for all the traffic, weather and school updates throughout the morning.

Visit our special Back to School guide on wsoctv.com for links to all area school districts, CMS calendar, healthy lunch tips and more.