Drivers: Know the Rules
School is back in session, and drivers sharing the road with school buses play a key role in helping children get to their destination safely. Here are some important reminders about school bus safety.
- When the red lights are flashing on the school bus, you must stop, whether you are behind the bus or approaching it. This allows students to leave the bus safely.
- When driving on a road without a median, drivers from both directions must stop. If you are following the bus, stop at least 20 metres away. If approaching from the front, stop at a safe distance to let children cross the road. Don’t move until the lights stop flashing and the bus moves forward.
- Note that when on a roadway that has a median barrier between opposing lanes of traffic, only the vehicles behind the bus must stop.
- All school buses must stop at all railway crossings, so be prepared to stop yourself. The bus does not use its flashing red lights for this, so exercise caution.
2. Slow down
Obey posted speed limits within school zones. Remember, school buses travel at slower speeds. Pay attention to any signals on the bus. Expect to slow down and only pass when the bus driver signals you to go by.
3. Know the law
Each province has laws that drivers must obey when driving past or behind a school bus. Not stopping for a school bus, or illegally passing, could result in substantial fines as well as demerit points for a 1st offence. If you see a driver who doesn’t stop for a school bus, try to record the vehicle’s licence plate, the intersection where it happened, date and time and notify the police. You could be saving a life.
Parents: Set a Good Example
Rushing through a school zone puts the lives of children in danger. Make sure to set a good example for your own children by following the speed limits! To promote school bus safety:
- Respect areas reserved for school buses.
- Stop your car in the area designated by the school.
- Obey the posted speed limits and always slow down in school zones.
- Obey crossing guards – they are there to ensure every child can cross safely.
- If you drive your child to school, drop them a block or two away to reduce congestion in front of schools.
Check out the CAA’s School Zone Safety page for tips about walking, cycling and driving your children to school.
Students: Stay-Safe Tips
When in a school zone, students should:
- Wait for the bus in a safe place well back from the edge of the road.
- Cross the road in front of the bus, never behind. Make sure the bus driver can see you. If you can touch the bus, you’re too close.
- Look all ways and wait for the driver to signal before you cross in front of a bus.
- Enter or exit the bus in single file. Never push or shove the other kids.
- Only walk – never run -- across the road.
- Never stop in the middle of the street to pick up anything that you may have dropped.
A few safety statistics
These statistics from the CAA about unsafe behaviours in school zones highlight the importance of following the safety rules above!
- 30% of drivers reported witnessing a near miss or collision in a school zone, more than half of which involved a child.
- 4 out of 10 Canadians say they are witnessing more unsafe driving practices in school zones today than in the past.
- Nearly 50% of Canadians say they witnessed a distracted driver in a school zone.
- 64% of Canadians say they have witnessed speeding in school zones.
For more on this topic, visit:
Give Children the Right of Way
Back to School: Safe Driving Tips Around the School Bus
Each day, school buses transport thousands of children to and from school. Injuries to students are most likely to happen when they leave or board the bus or when crossing the street. What can you do to avoid incidents with school buses?
The Personal refers to The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories.
The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice.