Bus drivers compete in annual safety competition after four-year hiatus

Bus drivers from all across the country traveled to Hays County for the 50th edition of the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition after a four-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

The Hays CISD transportation facility was transformed into a driver's course, as bus drivers from 26 states go head-to-head, vying for the title of best driver in the country.

These school bus drivers showcase their knowledge and skills in driving a type A, conventional, or transit school bus.

"It's showing that you understand. You know how to pick up a student. Which we do every day. But it's showing that you have that understanding and can get there safely and not letting cars get through you or anything," said one of the judges.

"I think big challenges are, our equipment has changed. School buses are manufactured differently. So, we've had to make our competition adapt to that," said Bill Loshbourgh, competition co-chair.

For some of the participants, this was their first time traveling to Texas.

"I've been a bus driver for 20 years. It's exciting to come to Texas because I've never been off the east coast," said Dan Edwards, bus driver trainer from Delaware.

Edwards says he was inspired to be a bus driver early on in life.

"I grew up on school buses, so my grandmother did trips. I was with her from when I was a baby all the way up to…she was actually my bus driver from middle school all the way to high school," said Edwards.


Edwards says this competition isn't all about winning the title of best driver but knowing he will have a positive impact on his students.

"We are sort of like their counselors. We are their first contact in the morning, so we're the first ones to smile on their faces, tell them hi, we're the last ones to see them before they get off the bus. So we're very important to our students on our school buses," said Edwards.

While being a bus driver may be a challenging job, school districts are always looking to hire.

"So it's just important that whether it's a school district or a private operator, they keep recruiting bus driver candidates," said Curt Macysyn, executive director of NSTA.

Hays CISD says they're going to be hosting next year's competition.