School bus safety

In Ottawa, thousands of children ride safely to school on buses everyday. Parents need to ensure that their children know how to stay safe on and around school buses.

Review these tips with your children and make sure they understand the danger zones around school buses.

Drivers: Always stop for a school bus.

Motorists need to pay particular attention to school buses during the school year. Here are some simple tips about what you should do when approaching a school bus that is preparing to stop:

  • When you are approaching the school bus from the opposite direction, stop at a safe distance away from the front of the bus.
  • When you are approaching the school bus from behind, stop at least 20 metres away from the back of the bus.
  • Once the red lights have stopped flashing, the STOP arm folds away and the bus begins to move, it is safe to continue driving.
  • Registered owners of vehicles can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing.

It's also a good idea to review information about pedestrian safety and talk with your kids about being safe while walking to/from the bus or their school.

The Law:

Failing to stop for a school bus can result in a fine upon conviction.

First offence: Fine - $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points

Each subsequent offence: Fine - $1,000 to $4,000 and six demerit points with possible imprisonment up to six months

Remember: School buses are required to stop at all railway crossings, but they are not required to use the bus' upper red lights.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Transportation.