HIGH POINT, N.C. — Although busy commuters may not notice who is driving the yellow school buses sharing the roads with them, the students on those buses definitely do. They look to their bus drivers not only for a safe ride to and from school, but also as respected role models.
“School bus drivers play an important role in the lives of their passengers,” says John O’Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “While safety of the children is their number one priority, school bus drivers do more to affect the lives of their passengers than even they may realize.”
To recognize the contributions individual drivers make to children’s safety every year, Thomas Built Buses, a leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, sponsors an annual Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest.
Now in its fourth consecutive year, students in grades K-6 are encouraged to submit 90-word essays to nominate their favorite drivers.
Students can describe in their own words and illustrations what makes their school bus drivers so special. The winning essays will be featured on the Thomas Built website when the contest is closed.
Entries must be postmarked by June 30, 2009. The grand prize winner will earn a $1,000 educational savings bond and a laptop computer for the nominating child and a $1,000 Visa(r) gift card for the nominated driver. All winners and runners up also will receive Thomas Built Buses jackets and Saf-T-Liner(r) C2 school bus lunch boxes. To enter the contest, visit www.thomasbus.com/contest for complete rules and an entry form.
Completed forms and typed or legibly printed 90-word essays should be mailed to: Children’s Choice Essay Contest, HMH, 1435 W. Morehead St., Suite 140, Charlotte, NC 28208.
There is no safer way to transport a child to school than on a school bus, according to the School Bus Information Council (SBIC). Consider the following eye-opening facts about school bus safety:
* Each year, the nation’s 450,000 yellow school buses annually make 10 billion student trips carrying 24 million children, the SBIC reports.
* Today’s buses have safety devices including specially cushioned high-backed seats, flashing red and yellow warning lights, rollover protection, and enhanced braking systems. Buses now also can be equipped with three-point lap-shoulder belts for every seat without reducing passenger capacity.
* School bus drivers undergo rigorous special training and must hold commercial drivers licenses and submit to criminal background and substance screening tests.
“Modern school buses are outfitted with extensive safety devices but one of the most important contributors to your child’s safety is the bus driver,” O’Leary says.
To nominate your driver for School Bus Driver of the year, visit www.thomasbus.com/contest for complete rules and an entry form.