School bus safety
Learn what children can do to stay safe when riding a school bus and the rules when driving near them.
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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 with its overhead red lights flashing or its stop arm activated before approaching
- 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
- 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
When you’re driving and a school bus approaches, watch if the bus slows and flashes its overhead amber lights, which means that the bus is coming to a stop to pick-up or drop-off passengers. When you see a school bus with its overhead amber lights flashing:
- Slow down and prepare to stop whether you are behind or approaching a bus
If you are on a road with a median strip, only vehicles coming from behind the bus should prepare to stop.
Watch if the bus stops and flashes its overhead red-lights or activates its stop arm. This means that the bus has stopped to pick-up or drop off passengers. It is dangerous and illegal to fail to stop for a stopped school bus that has its overhead red lights flashing or its stop arm activated.
For roads without a median (raised barrier between lanes), vehicles in both directions must stop when the bus is stopped and flashing its overhead red lights or its stop arm is activated:
- 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 when the bus is stopped and flashing its overhead red lights or its stop arm is activated. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction are not required to stop.
Before continuing on your way you must wait for the bus to start moving, for the overhead red lights to stop flashing and the stop arm is no longer activated.
If you drive past a stopped school bus with its overhead red lights flashing or its stop arm activated, you can face:
- 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.