Wednesday is the first day back to school for most children across Kern County.
For that reason, the Bakersfield City School District spends countless hours and time preparing the district’s school bus drivers for the new school year.
Scott Terrell, school bus driver with BCSD, said he has been a driver for the district for at least a year.
“The first time I was there it was very real,” Terrell said. “To look in and see all those faces looking back at me. I’ll be honest with you it was a little scary.”
Julee Arnall, Assistant Director of Transportation with the school district said school bus drivers spend all summer preparing for children’s arrival.
“We have the most precious cargo you can possibly put in a commercial vehicle,” Arnall said. “Our children are ours, we love them and we care for them on a daily basis.”
Moreover, Arnall said this year’s preparation entailed new safety features to a driver’s training.
“We have a child checkmate system on our bus,” Arnall said. “The bus driver must walk to the back of the bus and turn it off every time they stop their bus to make sure our buses are always empty when we’re done with our routes.”
Terrell said drivers trained for at least four months.
Moreover, Arnall said drivers must stop when the red lights flash on a bus.
Arnall said it’s approximately a $900 find if drivers don’t stop.