Safety has always been an important part of the job for school bus driver Ken Bruce, and he now has an award to show for it.
Bruce competed in the National School Bus Safety Competition on July 20-21 in Austin, Texas, after winning the statewide competition. He placed 23rd out of 23 competitors in the class on the national level.
Bruce placed first in his division and first overall at the Wisconsin School Bus Association (WSBA) School Bus Safety Competition at Fox Valley Technical College Transportation Center in Appleton on June 22.
Bruce has been a bus driver in the Monona Grove and McFarland School Districts for five years. An employee of Nelson’s Bus Service, he is considered a swing driver, and his route changes depending on where he is needed.
“I just make people more aware that the safety facts I talk about are actually really true,” he said.
About 30 drivers from various bus companies throughout Wisconsin competed. The competition is made up of three divisions: transit class, conventional class and the small bus class. Bruce won the transit class division at the statewide level.
Cherie Hime, executive director of WSBA, said this is the first year since 1983 the competition has been held in Wisconsin. WSBA decided to hold the event after receiving a general interest from members of the association. It was a way for drivers to update driving skills and knowledge of rules and laws.
“It was a great event, and we appreciate everyone’s support,” Hime said. “We look forward to holding the event next year. It was an important safety event for the industry.”
Competitors must take a written general knowledge test on school bus safety. They inspect a bus to identify safety flaws and defects. The competition also includes a driving portion through a course. Drivers are tested on how well they follow safety laws and procedures.