Third Annual Essay Contest Gives Kids Chance to Thank Outstanding Drivers
You buckle your child into her government-approved car seat in your sturdy, reliable vehicle with the high government crash test rating and side curtain airbags. You drive to school, alert and attentive, obeying all the laws of the road while carrying your precious cargo. You may think the back seat of your own car is the safest mode of transportation for your school-bound child. Think again.
“America’s school bus drivers are collectively doing an outstanding job of safely transporting our children to and from school every day,” says John O’Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, the leading manufacturer of school buses in the United States. To recognize the contributions individual drivers make to children’s safety every year, Thomas Built sponsors an annual Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest.
With their parents’ help, children in kindergarten through sixth grades can nominate their favorite drivers by submitting a 90-word essay on what makes their driver so special. Now in its third year, the contest runs until August 1, 2008. Winners earn a $1,000 educational savings bond and laptop computer for the nominating child and a $1,000 Visa gift card for the nominated driver. All winners and runners up also receive Thomas Built Buses jackets and Saf-T-Liner 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.
School buses are the safest and largest mass transportation system in the United States, according to research by 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 8.8 billion student trips carrying 24 million children, the SBIC reports.
While nearly equal numbers of children ride the school bus as use other modes of transportation in getting to school, in 2003, the last year for which statistics are available, five passengers were fatally injured while riding in school buses. By contrast, every year about 800 school aged children lose their lives on their way to school while either riding in private passenger vehicles, walking or biking, according to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences.
Long gone are the dubiously maintained and equipped school buses you might remember from your own childhood. Today’s buses have safety devices that range from specially cushioned high-backed seats, and flashing red and yellow warning lights to rollover protection, enhanced braking systems and buses can now be equipped with optional three-point lap-shoulder belts for every seat without reducing passenger capacity.
School bus drivers undergo rigorous special training, 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.