Hamilton Southeastern bus drivers getting ready for school to start and keeping kids safe

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 18:27:35-04

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. -- Bus drivers in the Hamilton Southeastern School District are fine-tuning their motor skills before kids go back to school

Drivers train on a course full of obstacles that they don’t typically see each day but could encounter at any given moment while out on the road.

There are 21,700 students in the Hamilton Southeastern School District, and 17,000 of those students ride the bus each day, which equates to roughly 78% of the district population.

Given the vast majority of the student population relies on bus transportation, training is crucial.

“It's not required by the state or anybody else, just part of the program we put together,” said Jim White, Transportation Director for the district.

Because of the number of drivers in the district, they go through training on a three-year, rotating cycle.

Beth Thornton has been driving school buses for 16 years, so you could say she has learned a thing or two.

“One of the most important things when you're driving a bus is to use your mirrors,” said Thornton.

So what type of obstacles do the drivers face in this training?

“They'll do an off-side alley, they'll do a three point turn, they'll do a simulated cul-de-sac turn, they'll do a straight way backing,” said White. “It's just confidence maneuvers, it's not a test for them, but there's a lot of drivers that don't encounter everything that you're going to see today on a daily basis."

Though the training takes work, there’s no such thing as too much preparation, especially when it comes to ensuring the safety of precious cargo.

“I get up every morning and I look forward to doing that,” said Thornton.

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