School Bus Drivers – A Vital Link in Public Education

February 25, 2022

According to a report from the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Servcies, school buses are the safest vehicles on the road.  A major component of that safety record is the skill and training of the school bus drivers.   Since the early 1990’s all school bus drivers have been required to possess a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).  This is not something that is issued quickly.  Someone desiring to become a school bus driver must undergo specific training, pass written and skills tests, submit to random drug and alcohol testing, and meet certain physical requirements.

Geoff Stephens, Laurens County School District 55 Department of Student Transportation Director, said, “We have 65 bus drivers in the district.  These men and women are out and about on the roads each school morning before many people even wake up.  They are committed to safely transporting our students to and from school and we are blessed to have them.”

Laurens County School District 55 (LCSD 55) has a fleet of 57 buses, with 5 of those being specifically equipped for transporting individuals with special needs.  “Our drivers transport around 2,000 students each day.  That’s a lot of precious cargo,” said Stephens.

“School buses can be seen on the roads in the community at all times of the day,” said LCSD 55 Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jody Penland.  “Our bus drivers operate 51 morning routes, 55 afternoon routes, 5 midday routes, and 15 after school routes totaling about 3,500 miles per day.  That’s farther than driving from Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington every day.”

As noted by LCSD 55 Superintendent Dr. Ameca Thomas, “Our bus drivers are vital to the success of the school district.  They are a direct link between neighborhoods and schools.  These district professionals can set a student’s tone for the entire day by providing a smile and encouraging word before a student ever gets to the school campus  We appreciate our bus drivers very much.”