SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

Virgie Alarcon, a school bus driver for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, is no rookie. She's been doing a job that she thoroughly loves for 10 years.  

“When I have my students on board, I treat them like they are my own children,” said Alarcon.

Alarcon says the job at times is tough, and it’s even tougher when unfocused drivers put the lives of the kids on her bus at risk.

She has experienced many moments when drivers were not paying attention. “I looked both ways -- seen the car coming to stop sign and it looked like he was slowing down and as I called my students, he almost started to proceed again,” Alarcon said. “As a parent it scares me because there have been fatal accidents and cars that do not stop for the red lights.”

Alarcon tells KCOY 12’s Cory James that each day she watches on average between five and six cars ignore the flashing lights and stop sign on her bus.

Since school starts Tuesday, the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District want drivers to slow down and “think about [their] child or [their] grandchild out there … to make sure that they are safe.”