For three consecutive years, Lori Robertson has won her regional qualifier for the Ohio School Bus Driver Safety Roadeo. Now, she has a state championship, if even by the slimmest of margins.
The Petermann school bus driver for Lakota Schools near Cincinnati drove her transit-style bus to a one-point victory over Lois Humberger of Genoa Area Local during the state competition on May 14 at Licking Heights High School in Pataskala. In all, 48 drivers competed from eight regions despite unseasonably cold spring weather.
The championship sends Robertson back to the 44th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, which is scheduled for July 18 and 20 in Charleston, S.C. This is Robertson's third consecutive year participating.
The Road-e-o is a cooperative effort of school districts, the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation, the Ohio Education Association, the Ohio School Bus Mechanics Association and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees. The annual event tests drivers' behind-the-wheel skills while maneuvering the bus through tight spaces and obstacles.
Several of the courses include procedures bus driver's encounter each day such as student pick-up and drop-off, railroad crossing and miscellaneous backing events. Each course has a maximum number of points, and demerits are assessed if a competitor strikes a cone, barrier or completes a procedure incorrectly. Each driver's depth perception is also tested and scored during the competition.
Additionally, there is a 100-question written test on Commercial Driver's License (CDL) rules and school bus pre-trip inspection.