County school bus drivers are steering their way through an annual “bus rodeo” this week that grades them on their skills, while hopefully increasing their knowledge on the road each day.
Drivers will also take a written test on safety.
“The rodeo is starting this week to kick off National Bus Safety Week next week,” transportation director Brooks Dobbs said.
In addition to the rodeo, safety coordinator Debra Wells said drivers are also practicing school bus emergency evacuations with students at all grade levels, which they will do again before this school year ends next spring.
“It’s similar to a fire drill at school,” transportation coordinator Tom West said.
And that’s not all that’s required of each of the county’s 85 full and part-time bus drivers — each one must undergo yearly physicals, drug testing, safety training, CPR certification (every two years) and a yearly MVR and criminal record check. They must also carry a commercial driver’s license.
Each driver is graded on both the written and driving portion of the rodeo, with the highest score being 550. The top 10 scorers are announced.
Dobbs said a number of schools will have driver appreciation events to honor their bus drivers next week, such as serving breakfast biscuits and handing out T-shirts.
Bus safety coordinator Debra Wells and bus driver/trainer Terry Herring are shown during this week’s annual “bus rodeo” at the bus barn in Danielsville. The pair, along with trainer Susan Morgan, oversee the rodeo. Margie Richards/staff
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