Drivers alarmed by number of cars failing to stop for flashing lights on school buses


West Region Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is gearing up for this year’s back-to-school season by encouraging everyone to be vigilant and patient when you encounter school buses.

The Independent School Bus Operators Association (ISBOA) conducted a province-wide study for a week last May.

Bus drivers said about 151 vehicles didn’t stop for flashing red lights each day over the five-day study. About 75 per cent of the incidents happened while the vehicle was approaching the bus from the front.  ]

“Drivers need to be vigilant and pay attention to the flashing red lights and other safety equipment used on buses. Our children’s safety depends on it,” says West Region OPP Traffic Inspector Ian Chappell in a news release.

The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario indicates that when a school bus is stopped on the roadway with its red lights activated and “Stop” sign out, drivers must come to a complete stop in front of and behind the bus.  Motorists must not pass the stopped bus until the stop arm is retracted and the red lights are turned off.  The owner of a vehicle can be charged if their vehicle fails to stop for a school bus even if they were not the driver.

“Family-owned school bus companies across the province are pleased to be working with their local law enforcement agencies to raise awareness about the dangers of passing a stopped school bus,” says Steve Hull, President of ISBOA.  “Our common goal is to make back-to-school – and the rest of the school year- safe for all children who ride the bus.”