School Bus Reminder
The Canada Safety Council is reminding Canadians that school buses will be resuming activity on the roads as fall gives way to back-to-school season.
“Schoolchildren are returning to classrooms across Canada,” said Canada Safety Council President and CEO Gareth Jones. “The return of school buses has a significant impact on traffic patterns which can seem particularly accentuated when we have had no exposure to buses for some time. We want to take this opportunity to remind Canadians to slow down, be attentive and patient. Let’s do the things we each control to help ensure that children get to school and back safely.”
School buses continue to enjoy a well-earned reputation as one of the safest methods of transportation available. Safety measures, including structural features and high-visibility paint and lighting systems, help make the bus visible to all. Regulations and standards, in turn, keep the construction of the bus itself front-of-mind in minimizing damage.
Even with the above, there is always room for improvement. A Transport Canada task force on school bus safety continues to explore potential safety modifications and additions. The majority of school-aged fatalities involving a school bus do not happen inside the bus.
Rather, 79 per cent of these fatalities occur outside the bus, in or near school loading zones. While recommendations include infraction cameras, extended stop arms and exterior 360 cameras, motorists also have a duty to prevent issues before they happen.
- Children traveling by bus are 72 times safer than those traveling by car, and 45 times safer than those walking or cycling to school.
- Every school day, more than 50,000 buses and more than 2.2 million children are driven to and from school across Canada. This results in an estimated 792 million student trips per year.
- In the last decade, there has been only one fatality on a school bus in Canada.
- According to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database, fatalities aboard school buses since 1984 contribute to less than one per cent of all motor vehicle fatalities in that time span.
As road users, our role in supporting school buses is simple: allow buses time and space to do their job. Above all, this means patience.
- When bus lights are flashing red, you must stop and wait until they are turned off before proceeding.
- Certain areas of Canada have introduced a set of yellow lights, cautioning that the bus will soon stop, and you should begin to slow down.
- Unless the road is separated by a physical median, do not pass a stopped bus in either direction – you may not see a child trying to cross the street.
- If the road is separated by a physical median, you must stop only if you are approaching the bus from behind.
- Drive slowly in school zones and residential neighbourhoods, leaving yourself plenty of time and space to stop or to perform evasive maneuvers as necessary.
- Be aware that school buses must always stop at rail crossings.
- Always comply with posted speed limits. This is especially important in school zones.
Roads are a shared space and a shared responsibility. Do your part to help school buses operate as intended and to help children remain safe!
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