Operation Safer Schools, a North Carolina State Highway Patrol campaign to improve safety in the East, kicked off last week.
Wednesday, NCSHP released numbers for their first week of the campaign which began on August 27 and ended August 31.
During that time frame, there were 651 speeding violations and 10 school zone speeding violations.
In addition, there were 16 DWI violations, 17 reckless driving violations, 177 seatbelt violations and 26 child restraint violations.
Trooper Doug Coley said these numbers are above average
The campaign that began August 27 will run through September 21.
As part of the operation, troopers are zeroing in on how people through school zones and if they are going around buses.
There were more than 7,600 total violations during the campaign’s first year in 2016.
9 On Your Side rode along with a trooper on the first day of school to see the things what they are looking out for.
Troopers are making sure people are stopping properly, following the blinking amber lights and allowing children to cross.
“Following too close, careless and reckless speed, improper passing,” trooper Doug Coley said. “School buses now, a lot of them have cameras on them so that helps us out with identifying the driver.”
Coley is one of around 170 troopers patrolling the streets across 20 eastern North Carolina counties.
Coley said student safety begins the moment they leave home.
“It is not just what’s on the bus or when they get on the bus,” Coley said. “It is their location, where they are picked up on their travel to school, and while they are at school.”
In addition to traffic stops, troopers are doing school visits to meet students.
Coley visited Chicod School in Pitt County.
“We want to make sure we interact with them and develop that rapport,” Coley said. “It can help us out. If something is going to happen they feel comfortable enough to talk to us about it and report.”
“I really appreciate him coming because not a lot of people want to come to a school and protect kids because there is normally like principals and other teachers that do that,” said Maggie Manning, a Chicod School third-grader.
“We love having our law enforcement on campus, having dialogue with us about our needs and how we can better secure our buildings and keep our staffs very safe,” Mike Pollard, Chicod School principal.
“The more we can get officers in and around schools and help with providing a safe environment, the more comfortable students will feel,” Coley said.
Coley said from April through June, there were more than 1,800 school visits statewide.
They plan to continue that momentum into this school year.
While the campaign for Operation Safer Schools ends September 21, Coley said their patrols of schools and surrounding areas last all year.
Click here to read about North Carolina school bus stop laws.