School bus safety tips

Riding a school bus is one of the safest ways for children to get to school.

Before boarding a bus

  • arrive at the bus stop before the bus comes
  • wait in a safe place away from the edge of the road
  • wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching

When riding

  • find a seat right away and stay seated, facing forward at all times
  • do not put anything in the aisle. Keep it clear.
  • keep your arms and head inside the bus
  • follow the bus driver’s instructions and do not distract the driver

When leaving

Illustration of danger zones around school bus
  • don’t push or shove — exit the bus in a single file
  • always cross the road in front of the stopped bus, never behind
  • look all ways and wait for the driver to signal before crossing in front of the bus
  • stay out of the danger zone by being 10 giant steps away from the bus, where you and the bus driver can see each other
  • walk — don’t run — across the road
  • if you drop something within the danger zone, ask an adult or the bus driver for help. Do not stop to pick it up.

Driving near school buses

the required stopping distance on a two-way road for vehicles coming up behind a school bus with lights flashing

When you’re driving and a school bus approaches:

  1. Watch if the bus stops, flashes its upper red lights and/or activates its stop arm.
  2. For roads without a median (raised barrier between lanes), vehicles in both directions must stop:
    • if you are driving behind the bus, stop at least 20 metres away
    • if the school bus is facing you, stop at a safe distance to let children get on and off the bus and cross the road
    For roads with a median, you must stop if you are driving in the same direction as the school bus. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction are not required to stop.
  3. Wait for the bus to start moving or the lights to stop flashing before continuing on your route.

Penalties

If you drive past a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing and/or stop arm activated, you can face:

First offence
  • fines ranging from $400 to $2,000
  • 6 demerit points
Each following offence
  • fines ranging from $1,000 to $4,000
  • 6 demerit points
  • possible jail time of up to 6 months

Stop arm cameras on school buses

The registered owner of a vehicle illegally passing a school bus that is caught by camera technology may be charged and fined.

Reporting drivers who don’t stop

You can report a vehicle that doesn't stop properly for a school bus by filing a local Road Watch Report or contacting your local police department.