MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Drivers are being reminded to drive with caution as traffic volumes and commute times increase this week with students returning to the classroom.

The first bell rings for Charleston County School District students on Wednesday – with start and release times spanning 7:20 a.m. – 8:20 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Town of Mount Pleasant’s Transportation Department said traffic volumes on major roadways within the town typically see an increase of approximately 15% to 25% in the morning peak hour during the school year – that is compared to when school is not in session during the summer months.

“This can lead to longer commute times with delays occurring near these facilities. Avoid the frustration of waiting in traffic and plan to leave earlier or later to avoid higher volume periods and please have patience and understand the reason for additional travel time,” said town officials.

The town is asking parents to respect and adhere to their child’s school drop-off and pick-up routes and to only park in designated areas to avoid pedestrian-vehicle incidents.

Parents can reach out to their school for specifics on approved routes and parking areas. The town is also supporting the use of alternate modes of transportation through the district’s bus system, CARTA, carpooling, walking, and biking.

“CARTA provides free bus passes to all students in the Tri-County region and can be requested by visiting CARTA’s website,” the town said.

Drivers should use extra caution during this traffic change because more pedestrians may be present on the roadways, especially around schools.


The South Carolina Department of Transportation reminds drivers that they must stop for the entire time a school bus is stopped or preparing to stop with its red lights flashing or stop arm extended.

“After the school bus’s red and/or amber lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is no longer visible, proceed slowly, watching for children,” said highway patrol.

Law requires these actions whether you are meeting the school bus or traveling behind it under the following conditions:

  • On any two-lane highway
  • On any four-lane or multi-lane highway only when traveling behind a school bus
  • When attempting to pass a school bus that has red or amber signals flashing.

You are required to stop for a stopped school bus when driving on a two-lane road.

You do not have to stop around a school bus in the following circumstances:

  1. When the school bus is in a passenger loading zone completely off the main travel lanes and when pedestrians are not allowed to cross the roadway.
  2. A driver of a vehicle does not have to stop upon meeting a stopped school bus when traveling in the opposite direction on a multi-lane highway or multi-lane private road. A multi-lane highway or multi-lane private road is defined as a highway or private road that consists of four lanes, having at least two traffic lanes in each direction. You must always stop on any highway when you are behind the bus. When you have stopped, you must not proceed until the school bus moves or the red lights are no longer flashing.