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First Student School Bus Drivers Win 23 Invitations to Compete in the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition "Road-eo" July 19 & 20
Thursday 17 July 2008
First Student, Inc., the nation’s leader in student transportation, is sending 23 school bus drivers from the U.S. and Canada to the “38th School Bus Driver International Safety Competition,” July 19-20, 2008, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Only top-placing drivers in state/regional competitions are eligible to compete at the international level. This year, a total of 96 drivers will participate in the international competition.
Organized by the National School Transportation Association, the competition highlights the safety practices and driving skill of North America’s best school bus drivers and highlights the professionalism of the industry.
“The focus of this competition is school bus safety,” says Gary Catapano, senior vice president of safety at First Student and chairman of the National School Transportation Association Safety and Security Committee. “It is an impressive accomplishment for so many of our drivers to qualify for this event. Safety is a core value at First Student, and the level of training and skill of our drivers is at the heart of our dedication to safety.”
The competition includes navigating a demanding driving course that tests precision driving and requires a demonstration of critical safety skills, in addition to completing a challenging written exam that tests knowledge of operational and safety standards.
All First Student drivers must pass a comprehensive background check, substance screen and full DOT physical exam, as well as complete more than 50 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training before they can drive a First Student bus. First Student was the first school bus operator to install front safety crossing gates, an anti-theft, electronic child reminder system and a computerized global positioning system as standard equipment on its buses.
In the U.S., 25 million children ride in school buses everyday. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest way for children to get to and from school—13 times safer than traveling to school in the family car. And, school bus transportation also plays an important part in ensuring all children have access to education, since for many, it is their only means of getting to school.