The ABC’s of School Bus Safety

If the roads look busier now that school is back in session, it is because they are. Every school day there are roughly 825,000 students travelling to their classes by one of the 16,000 – 18,000 school buses operating on Ontario’s roads.

School bus operators know that the cargo they are carrying is precious. They are obligated for that reason to make sure that they are hiring only drivers who are properly trained and competent. They are equally obligated to ensure that the school vehicles themselves are safe and fit for travel.

For a well-run transportation provider, the greatest risk to student safety actually occurs outside the bus when children are entering and exiting. Drivers operating vehicles on roads with a median are required to stop a safe distance behind a stopped bus with its upper lights flashing. Drivers travelling on roads without a median are required to stop regardless of the direction they are moving. A driver disobeying this legal requirement for the first time can be punished by fines of $400 – $2,000 and 6 demerit points. Additional fines and the potential for jail time await a repeat offender.

Of course, there are also steps that parents can take to educate their children on how to be safe while travelling on a school bus. Telling children to stay seated, to always cross across the front of the bus, and to never turn back to pick up a forgotten or dropped item without first telling an adult can all help avoid disastrous outcomes. Unfortunately, even when all precautions are taken accidents can still occur. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a school bus, a personal injury lawyer can help you understand how to protect the legal rights of your loved ones.

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