FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Each day school is in session, thousands of students pile into school buses to get them to class.
For instance, in the Central Unified School District last year, 3,400 students rode the bus.
In Clovis Unified School District, 4,300 students ride the bus on average.
Before a student ever steps foot inside, there's hours of training, and dozens of safety checks.
To become a bus driver, a person has to put in hours and hours of training and testing.
"It's a lot more intensive than just your regular car," Dinuba Unified School District Transportation Director Terri Serpa said.
She knows what it takes to be a bus driver because she sat in the driver's seat for 20 years.
"This is where I started my school bus career, so I've been here the whole time," Serpa said.
In the state of California, bus drivers have to complete 20 hours in the classroom before ever getting behind the wheel.
"You learn the rules of the road, laws and regulations about what you can and can't do. You learn all the components of the bus, all of what all every nob and switch does," Serpa said.
Once that's completed, drivers have to complete a written test with the California Highway Patrol.
If they pass, then they have to complete at least 20 hours behind the wheel.
Then it's back to the CHP for a driving test, where they go through a pre-trip inspection, maneuvering on the roads and backing up to park along a curb.
If you pass that, you're ready to start driving.
But the safety steps don't stop there.
Every day before heading out on their route, drivers must complete a pre-trip inspection.
"Just to make sure their bus is in tip-top working shape to before they go out on the road," Serpa said.
And it's extensive.
They check the seat backs and seat belts.
Every window has to go up and down.
Emergency exits have to be tested.
"They would open them up to make sure they function properly," Serpa said.
They must ensure the alarm sounds when emergency doors are opened and that the alert lights up on the dashboard.
That's just the inside.
On the outside, Serpa said drivers check the tires, lights and ensure all parts are secure.
They also make sure the signature stop sign that pops out on the side is in working order.
They mark each step on a daily vehicle inspection report.
At the end of the route, the bus drivers have to walk to the back of the bus to turn off a sensor.
It's an added layer of protection to ensure every student got off.
If the bus driver doesn't turn off the sensor, the alarm sounds.
Serpa says before school starts, parents should remind students they need to wear their seatbelt on the bus.
But she also wants parents to know bus drivers are well-trained and well equipped and they will take care of your children.
"They're going to treat them just like their own so you don't have to worry. I mean, they're going to hold their hand. They're going to show them where they need to go if they're uncomfortable," Serpa said. "So, they don't have to worry."
Training never stops for drivers.
They have to complete at least 10 hours of training each year and have to renew their license every 5 years to ensure they're up to date with the latest rules and regulations.