Whether on a city street, highway or county road, and regardless of the speed limit and the number of lanes, motorists travelling in both directions must stop when approaching a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing. A flashing stop arm will swing out while passengers are boarding or leaving the bus. (The only exception: on highways separated by a median, traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop). Once all passengers have boarded, the STOP arm will fold away. Do not start moving until the red lights have stopped flashing and the bus begins to move.
First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points
Each subsequent offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time up to six months
School bus travel is extremely safe. In Ontario, over 800,000 students are transported daily in school buses that travel 1.9 million kilometres every school day. Although injuries to school bus passengers are rare, they most often happen outside the bus as students are boarding and leaving the bus or crossing the street. Remember these tips:
Ontario regulations require buses be driven by specially-trained, licensed drivers with good driving records. And school buses must meet safety standards established by Transport Canada, as well as provincial requirements such as the requirement for a front safety crossing arm. Other standards include:
Information from all types of school bus collisions demonstrates that the current school bus design provides a high level of protection to occupants and that seat belts may actually adversely affect the safety of children on school buses (Transport Canada).
Instead of requiring seat belts, school buses are designed and constructed differently from passenger cars. School buses protect passengers through "compartmentalization", a design that includes:
Studies have shown that adding seat belts to the current seating configuration of a school bus can increase the chance of head and neck injuries. For a seat belt to be effective, it must be worn correctly, snug and on the upper thighs. Because school vehicles carry passengers from the very young to high school students, if seat belts were used, they would need to be readjusted and their use monitored. A seat belt not worn correctly may cause serious injuries.
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Road Safety. It starts with you.