JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — If you have a child that rides a bus in West Virginia, you have nothing to worry about. Most likely, it won’t be the driver’s first rodeo.
Jefferson County hosted the West Virginia State School Bus Safety Road-E-O Wednesday morning where drivers across the state can compete against each other showcasing their school bus handling skills.
“When I took the job at the State Department of Education, I’d been involved with facilities for over 30 years, but when I saw the passion from not only the bus drivers, but the Transportation Directors and Superintendents have for the safety of the kids, this is just a really cool place to be,” said West Virginia State Executive Director of School Facilities and Transportation Tommy Young. “When you think about your little babies and your grandchildren being on these buses, these are the people you want driving the buses.”
Through several difficult situations that they may find themselves in on the job, the competition covers everything from handling tight spaces to making a proper stop to let children on and off the bus. Many of the drivers said that they have a blast during the competition, but in the bigger picture is all about keeping the kids safe.
“This whole event is for the safety of our students, this makes drivers better and it’s all about safety,” said Chairman of West Virginia State Road-E-O Committee WVAPT Jimmy Lacy. “Students are worth everything, and it’s all about what we can put into it to make them safer.”
The top winners from the state competition will go on to compete in the 49th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition in Austin, Texas.
“I don’t think people understand the tremendous responsibility of being responsible at a time for up to 70 lives,” said Multiple National Championship Winner from Kanawha County Billy Wiseman. “Even one life is a great responsibility but to have 50, 60 kids on the bus, it’s a tremendous responsibility that myself and all bus drivers take very seriously.”