Despite more than a quarter century behind the wheel of a police cruiser followed by eight years driving school bus, Roger Griffieth said he was shocked to do so well this year in the Ohio School Bus Driver Safety Road-e-o.
Griffieth, a driver for the Troy City Schools, finished first in the regional Road-e-o in early May in Celina followed by a ninth-place finish in the state competition a couple of weeks later.
The Road-e-o allows school bus drivers to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and compare their abilities with peers from other districts across the state.
Griffieth was looking for a job following his retirement from the Troy Police Department in 2003 when a couple of friends who had been bus drivers suggested he a similar route.
He was trained by longtime driver Judy Hess. She introduced him to the bus road-e-o program, which is a skills test measured by how close one can safely maneuver a bus through cones and other barriers.
He’d seen similar challenge driving with a police cruiser in Ohio State Patrol Academy training, so he decided to participate. He had participated in Road-e-os in past years but never finished first until this year’s regional title, based on the combined score of written and driving tests. “I was flabbergasted,” Griffieth said.
Driving school bus after working as a police officer required some refocusing, he said. As a police officer he had to get to places as quickly as he could; as a bus driver he had to get to destinations as safely as he could.
Griffieth plans to continue competing as long as he is driving the school bus.
“We have a lot of fun with it,” he said.“I still find it a challenge. I still have my sanity.”
He and his wife, Janet, have been married 39 years. They have four children and five grandchildren.