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OKC bus drivers testing routes before start of school year

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OKLAHOMA CITY- It’s that time of the year again; school starts Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

On Friday, bus drivers tested out their routes in preparation for the beginning of the school year.

Flashing yellow lights will be seen a lot more on the roads because of kids heading back to the classroom.

Tiara Hardman said, "I do this because I love children."

Hardman said there's a lot of responsibility when it comes to driving a school bus.

Drivers battle traffic, road construction and kids in a confined area.

With all the responsibility, comes relationships, which is Hardman's favorite part of the job.

Hardman, who is known as 'Miss T' to the students, said, "If you come on the bus and say 'Hi, how are you doing Joshua?' They know that you love them and you are here to keep them safe."

In the Oklahoma City Public School District, there are 150 school bus routes and 170 drivers, which include special needs bus operators, like Karen Smith.

Smith said her bus has seat belts for added protection, as well as staff to help out.

She said, "We have them strapped down, they're strapped down, they're in harnesses and the bus monitor is watching what I can't see."

Smith said she hopes drivers are more cautious to the big yellow buses this school year, and has a big request for drivers.

She said, "That the people quit running our stop sign when we're loading and unloading our students."

Not only does the training that bus drivers go through refresh safety protocols, it provides strong learning lessons.

Ronnie Jacobs said, "Gives new drivers input of what it really takes to be a serious bus driver."

More than 10,000 Oklahoma City students use the bus system to get to and from school.