A Back-to-School Bus Miracle

School buses roll for the first day of the CMS school year ... on time!

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School buses rolled this morning for the first day of the 2015-16 school year. It put a smile on my face when I heard the sweet sound of bus brakes at the stop around the corner before ours. What made it even sweeter … the bus was on time! That's a first for the first day of school. 

Without hesitation my big first grader bounded onto the bus. He woke up and got dressed straightaway, which I take as a sign he was ready to get back to the school routine. Summer is fun, but kids like routine and most (especially the little ones) like school. I think it's empowering as they go on their own to learn and grow, make new friends and new adventures.

With the buses on the road, that means a possible slower commute to work, but remember these bus safety rules for the sake of our kids, and use this slideshow for a reminder on who should stop.

Two-Lane Stop Law: When the school bus stops in a two-lane road, ALL traffic in both directions must stop. This also goes for a two-lane road with a center turn lane — it's an all-stop! Seems like it goes without saying, but more than 3,000 stopped school buses are passed each day in N.C. according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Four-Lane Stop Law: OK, this one might be a little harder for some folks to remember, but here's the deal: If there's no median between the four lanes, it's ALL STOP! When the school bus stops, all traffic must stop in all directions. If there is a median or turn lane between the four lanes, only traffic following the bus must stop.

If you get caught passing a bus, (which by the way, many buses now have cameras on them to video anyone who does illegally pass), it's 5 points and $500 fine.

Now for some rules on safety for the kids:

1. Make sure all their school supplies and such are in their book bag so there's no chance of them dropping something while crossing the street to the bus.

2. When walking to the bus stop, make sure they walk on a sidewalk if available. If no sidewalk, they should walk single-file on side of street facing traffic, but not in the middle of the road.

3. When waiting for the bus, make sure your child stands at least 10 feet away from the road (or let's say five big steps back from the road).

4. If you cross the street to get on or off the bus, always wait for the stop sign on the bus to be extended and the crossing arm to be out.

5. Remind your child, no distractions — cell phones or digital devices — when getting off the bus. Eyes up!

There's a lot more for kids to know about bus safety, especially the be sure and look both ways before the crosing the street, but find more talking points for bus safety here, and some games to help them remember!