Safety Tips

Talk With Your Child

Before your child rides the bus to school you can help ensure their safety on and off the bus by discussing these safety rules:

  • Get to the bus stop ahead of time.
  • Wait for the bus on the sidewalk and avoid horseplay.
  • If you have to walk around the bus, wait until you are given a signal by the driver and then walk about 10 feet in front of the bus so you can be seen.
  • If you drop something as you are getting on or off the bus, ask the driver or another adult for help.
  • Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before trying to get on or off.
  • Hold the handrail when getting on or off the bus.
  • Sit quietly and straight up in the seat.
  • Keep your hands and all other body parts inside the bus.
  • If you have to cross the street when you get off the bus, take a few steps and wait for the bus driver to motion you across the street.
  • Go straight home when you get off the bus.
  • If someone bothers you at the bus stop, tell the bus driver, an adult at school, or your parents.

School Bus Laws

Regardless of the posted speed limit, traffic in both directions must STOP when a chrome yellow school bus is stopped with its overhead red signal lights flashing front and rear.

As a Parent

As a parent, you should remind your children to be extra careful when getting on and off the school bus. Always have them take a second look for traffic before crossing the road. Also, remind your children to follow the school bus safety rules learned at school. Encourage them to help the driver keep his/her attention on the driving task, by behaving themselves, being as quiet as possible and remaining seated, facing front, until it is time to get off the bus.

As a Motorist

As a motorist you must drive with extra care whenever you see a school bus in front of you or coming towards you. Remember, if the overhead alternating red signal lights are flashing, traffic in both directions must be prepared to come to a stop when the bus stops and the stop arm comes out.

Conviction for failure to stop when required carries the following penalties:

  • for a first offence, a fine of $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points;
  • for each subsequent offence, a fine of $1,000 to $4,000 and six demerit points, and possibly imprisonment for up to six months.

School buses, unlike other vehicles, are required by law to stop at all railway crossings.

The School Bus Stopping Law

The law applies everywhere, regardless of the posted speed limit - on highways, country roads, city, town, or village streets. Motorists meeting a stopped school bus with the overhead alternating red signal lights flashing must stop unless they are on a highway divided by a median strip (a median strip is the portion of a highway so constructed as to separate traffic travelling in one direction from traffic travelling in the opposite direction --- a median strip is a physical barrier or a raised or depressed paved or unpaved separation area that is not intended to allow crossing vehicular movement).

Motorists, on any highway, overtaking a stopped school bus with its overhead alternating red signal lights flashing must always stop at least 20 metres before reaching the bus. In both cases, motorists may not proceed until the bus resumes motion or the red signal lights have stopped flashing.


vehicles in both directions must stop.



only vehicles behind must stop.


How do I know it's a school bus?

A school bus is defined as a chrome yellow bus that displays on the front and rear the words "SCHOOL BUS", and on the rear the words "DO NOT PASS WHEN SIGNALS FLASHING".

No motor vehicle other than a school bus can be painted chrome yellow or bear the words "DO NOT PASS WHEN SIGNALS FLASHING" or "SCHOOL BUS".

School buses may be carrying children or adults with developmental handicaps, and can be on the road at any time of the day or night.

School bus safety is everybody's responsibility.

School Bus Smarts

The following information on School Bus Safety was prepared by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation, Schoolbus Drivers and representatives of the Ontario School Boards.

General Tips

• Stay out of the danger zone at all times!
• Remember - if you can't see the driver, the driver can't see you!
• Never go near the bus unless the driver has given you the signal to come!

• Never, ever walk or play behind a vehicle!
• When you go near the bus, always be sure you can see the bus driver!
• If you drop anything in the danger zone leave it. Never stop to pick it up!

Know the Danger Zones


  • Every child must know the DANGER ZONES around the school bus.
  • Children should never enter the DANGER ZONE unless the driver has given them permission.
  • If a child can touch the bus, he or she is too close.
  • If a child must cross the street, know all the rules to cross safely.
  • The 10 Giant Step rule is a good measurement for children to identify the DANGER ZONE around the school bus, particularly when crossing in front of the bus.
  • When near a bus, the children must have the attention of the school bus driver.
  • Children should never play around or near school bus vehicles.
  • When leaving the bus, children must walk directly home.

Getting On and Off the Safe Way


  • Always be on time with your school things tucked safely away.
  • Never run to or from the bus.
  • Wait for the bus at a safe place away from the road.
  • Wait for the bus to stop before approaching to get on.
  • Remember if you can touch the bus, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE !
  • Your driver will tell you when to get on.
  • Walk up the steps, one at a time, using the hand rail.
  • Never push or shove.
  • Sit facing the driver, feet in front of you.
  • Keep the aisle clear at all times.

Getting Off the Bus

  • Use the handrail.
  • Do not push or shove.
  • Walk don't run away from the bus
  • Never go behind the bus
  • Go right home!

Crossing the Street After Getting Off Bus

  • If you must cross the road after getting off the bus, use the 10 GIANT STEPS as a guide to take you out of the DANGER ZONE at the front of the bus.
  • Be sure you can see the driver and that the driver sees you.
  • Watch for the driver's signal that it is safe to cross.
  • Stop when you reach the edge of the bus.
  • Look and listen both ways to be sure it is safe before you cross.
  • Walk never run across the street.
  • Go right home.

Emergency Evacuation the Safe Way

  • Listen to the driver's instructions for the correct exit.
  • Be calm, quiet and don't panic.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Exit seat-by-seat, alternating rows.
  • Leave the bus quickly without pushing, or shouting.
  • Walk to a safe place and stay together.

Railway Crossing Evacuation

  • Listen to the driver's instructions for the correct exit.
  • Go away from the tracks as far as possible in a direction (at a 45 degree angle) toward the train to avoid being hit by debris from the crash.
  • Go to a safe place and stay together.