A school bus driver’s primary concern is to protect their students. That means having confidence and experience behind the wheel of a bus. When it comes to gaining that confidence and experience, for many drivers in Ohio, this ain’t their first rodeo.
Indian Creek Middle School in Jefferson County hosted the Regional Bus Road-E-O as bus drivers from across Eastern Ohio tested and improved their skills behind the wheel on Saturday.
“There’s 13 schools here and 79 drivers and the whole goal of this event is to try and make better drivers in the state of Ohio,” said Brenda Staffilino, the Director of Transportation for the Indian Creek School District.
The drivers had to go through a nine part obstacle course including simulated railroad crossing, picking up and dropping off students, depth perception and offset streets on top of taking a 100 question written test.
Vicki Hicks of Canton participated in Bus Road-E-O’s in the past and performed so well that she even made it to the state competitions but she wasn’t always comfortable behind the wheel.
“To me, I felt inferior. I knew I was trained but I didn’t feel confident,” said Hicks. “So I thought the only way to get confident is to do some competition.”
Indian Creek had 11 bus drivers retire in the past few years so the Road-E-O has become a place for their new drivers to gain their confidence like Hicks has done.
“We have a whole new fleet of drivers and I just think it’s important that they continue to train and be the best that they can be,” said Staffilino
“For me, I learned so much from it and it gave me more confidence as far as driving my bus, what I could do with a bus,” said Hicks.
The top ten finishers at Saturday’s Road-E-O will then go onto compete on the state level in Columbus.