It is time to remind all vehicle operators about the “School Bus” Stopping Law.

Stopping for school buses! Let us review the School bus-stopping rules Ontario.
School buses in Ontario come in a range of sizes. All are chrome yellow and display the words “School Bus.” The school buses usually have overhead amber lights.

School Bus median School Bus no medianThe school bus laws Ontario say you must stop whenever you approach a stopped school bus with its upper alternating red lights flashing, regardless of whether you are behind the bus or approaching it from the front. When approaching the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance for children to get off the bus and cross the road in front of you. If you are coming from behind the bus, stop at least 20 metres away. Do not go until the bus moves or the lights have stopped flashing. Remember that school bus safety is our top priority.

Note: It is illegal to fail to stop for a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing. If you don’t stop, you can be fined $400 to $2,000 and get six demerit points for a first offence. If you are convicted a second time within five years, the penalty is a fine of $1,000 to $4,000 and six demerit points. You could also go to jail for up to six months. In Ontario, school-bus drivers and other witnesses can report vehicles that have illegally passed a school bus. If you are the vehicle’s registered owner, these same fines, but not demerit points or jail time, may be applied to you.

Watch for school buses near railway crossings. All school buses must stop at all railway crossings. The upper alternating red lights are not used for these stops, so be alert.

If you are on a road with a median strip, only vehicles coming from behind the bus must stop. (A median is a physical barrier such as a raised, lowered, earth or paved strip constructed to separate traffic traveling in the opposite direction. Vehicles cannot cross over a median strip.School Bus medianSchool Bus median
You must obey the school bus law on any road, no matter how many lanes or what the speed limit is. Be prepared to stop for a school bus at any time, not just within school hours. Sometimes people as “when do school buses stop running?” School buses can run at any time. Students may be returning from an after-school activity at usual hours.

If you are in a school zone, be very attentive. School buses may appear and need your attention.
As well as the upper alternating red flashing lights, school buses use a stop sign arm on the driver’s side of the bus. This arm, a standard stop sign with alternating flashing red lights at the top and bottom, swings out after the upper alternating red lights begin to flash. Remain stopped until the arm folds away and all lights stop flashing.


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Mark Epperson, TRIP.

Mark Epperson, TRIP.
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