BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Julia Hughes, a school bus driver for Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS), received a safe driving certificate from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for the 1 million accident-free miles she has logged since the district's transportation services began in 1981, as well as a 30-year safe driving pin.
Hughes is the first KCSOS driver to reach 30 years of service and 1 million miles without being involved in any kind of accident. Her dual accomplishments were celebrated during the operation's annual Transportation Services Safe Driving Awards ceremony held on Aug. 15.
"It takes a lot of patience," Hughes said. "I just love my job. My thoughts are always focused on the safety of my children [on the bus], and how much I love them. They're just sweethearts."
Transportation Services Director Paul Linder had to hand Hughes a 29-year pin and a one-year pin instead of a 30-year pin during the ceremony.
"We never expected anyone would drive that long and without an accident. So, no one ever ordered a 30-year pin," Linder laughed. "Seriously, Julia has always been very professional, is an absolute delight to work with and does it all with a smile on her face."
Hughes is one of KCSOS' three remaining charter drivers, along with Pat Shaw, who received a 28-year pin and Julia Beverly, who was honored for 27 years.
Fifty-four KCSOS drivers received safe driving pins, after totaling a cumulative 565 years behind the wheel without being involved in an accident. Fourteen drivers received CHP certificates for every 100,000 they have driven without being involved in a preventable accident, which, when totaled together, equaled 6,037,887 miles.
Pam Sanders, the former special-education services administrator and current Kern County assistant superintendent of schools, praised the drivers and aides who assist special-needs students during transportation.
"We know what you do every day and how important you are to every child and family, and we in special education thank you," Sanders said.