SCHOOL BUS SAFETY TIPS

LOOSE CLOTHING, SCARVES, DRAWSTRINGS, BACKPACK STRAPS ETC.

These clothing items can be dangerous if they are left hanging loose. They could become caught on bus handrails, doors etc.

KNOW YOUR CHILDREN’S BUS NUMBER, DRIVER AND OPERATOR

In case of an emergency, it is easier to locate your child if you have the correct information on hand (i.e. winter cancellations).

LET US KNOW ABOUT LIFE THREATENING MEDICAL CONDITIONS

If your child is allergic to anything, suffers from asthma or has any other life threatening medical condition, it is important to let us know about it. Your child may be exposed to something that brings on an allergic reaction (i.e. peanuts) or may have an asthma attack while riding to or from school. If the Bus Driver is aware of an existing condition this may allow them to recognize an emergency situation more quickly.

THE DANGER ZONE

The danger zone is a 10 foot area around the bus. The Bus Driver cannot see in the danger zone. It is important that you teach your child where the danger zone is. Here are a few things to remember:

  • When getting off the bus, students should take five (5) giant steps to get out of the “Danger Zone”.
  • Please tell your children not to go back to pick up anything that they have dropped while crossing in front of the bus.
  • Don’t bend down near or under the bus, the Driver needs to see where your child is.
  • If the child can’t see the Bus Driver, then the Driver cannot see your child.

WINTER SAFETY TIPS

Leave yourself some extra time in the morning to get out to the bus.

Don’t throw snowballs at the bus.

Dress appropriately to ensure protection from cold, wind, snow or rain.

Don’t slide on ice and snow while waiting for the bus.

Stand away from where the bus stops. They need extra room to stop when there is ice and snow.

Don’t push or shove near the bus stop; someone may slip on the ice.

Alert System for Cancellations and Delays

Stakeholders can subscribe through the website to receive notifications by text message and/or email of school bus cancellations and delays of over 15 minutes.

Be Seen, Be Safe Program

The “Be Seen, Be Safe Program” is a co-operative program between our Member School Boards and Consortium where each student from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 is provided with a flashing amber light. With our short northern days, for most of the year, students are often navigating to school or bus stops during dawn, dusk and darkness hours. The lights enhance visibility for our students.

Criminal Background Checks and Vulnerable Sector Screening

Every driver (including spares), Consortium staff and other bus operator staff are required to undergo a Criminal Background Check – Vulnerable Sector Screening before there can be any interaction with students.  Annual Offence Declarations are required thereafter.

Driver Abstract Checks

Twice a year, drivers are checked through the Ministry of Transportation Website. This is to track any infractions and valid licensing.

Emergency First Aid & EPI- Pen Administration

All school bus drivers are required to be certified and current in Emergency First Aid and Epi-Pen administration.

Empty/Checked Program

After the last drop off, the driver must pull over to a safe location and check the seats for students.  He/She then proceeds to the back where a sign is hung in the back window, “Checked”.  When the bus is parked,  the driver then checks again and turns the sign to read empty.  For the next run, the driver removes the sign before they set out on their route and starts the process again.

Enroute Emergency Evacuation Program

This program provides an opportunity for students and bus drivers to practice or discuss a school bus evacuation on their designated bus, involving students from multiple schools who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to practice together.

First Rider Program

The First Rider Program is geared primarily for parents and children new to school bus transportation. We strongly encourage all children entering the school system for the first time in the fall to attend.

Visit our First Rider Program page for more information. »

Life Threatening Condition Program

This voluntary program allows parents to register their children who have life threatening medical conditions such as allergies or diabetes and provide a safe plan to the Consortium and bus drivers.

Regional Safety Day

The Consortium organizes a Regional Safety Day each year for school bus operators and divers including presentations and workshops on relevant safety-related topics such as first aid, mental health, and communication.

Route Audits

The Consortium routinely audits school bus routes.  While operational items are reviewed, it is also an opportunity to review stops, route design, driver load control or anything which impacts safety on the bus.  Staff physically ride the buses.

Special Needs Student Safe Plans

As needed, a safe plan is developed for bus students with special needs. The plan is then provided to the bus driver.

Visible Parent Program

In the interest of safety, we have a Visible Parent Program for Junior/Senior Kindergarten bus students. JK/SK students riding the school bus are to be accompanied by an adult or a student 11 years of age and in grade 6 or older to their stop in the morning and met at their stop after school. This ensures students are not going home to an empty house and/or a child is not required to navigate to and from their stop unaccompanied.

The Consortium will provide all JK/SK bus students with a bag tag to wear on their backpack indicating they require a visible parent. Parents are asked to approach the bus door once the bus comes to a complete stop. Once the driver has paired the student with the appropriate parent/guardian, all other students may exit the bus.

Bus drivers have been instructed not to let JK/SK students on or off the bus unless there is a visible parent/alternate at the stop.  Should this occur, the student will be taken back to their school. Parents/Guardians should also be aware that if there isn’t someone to meet a child more than once, a bus suspension may result.  Parents/guardians are responsible for the safety and conduct of their child prior to boarding and after drop off.

Illegal Passing of a School Bus

What to do?

It’s important for everyone in our communities to help make sure our roads are the safest they can be. When it comes to school bus travel, it’s very important for our young people to arrive safely at their destination. Every school day in Ontario over 800,000 young people are transported safely in school buses.

Motorists are required by law to stop for a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing. Unfortunately, a few motorists will disregard the law and pass the school bus, jeopardizing the safety of young people boarding and leaving the bus or crossing the road.

Registered owners of vehicles can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing.

What to do if you see a vehicle pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing

You can help make our roads safe by reporting the dangerous and illegal passing of school buses with the following tips.

  • Report the incident to police immediately by phone or in person at the nearest police station.
  • Provide the make, model, colour and licence number of the vehicle.
  • Provide the location, date and time of the incident.
  • Provide a description of the driver if possible.
  • Was the vehicle being passed a “chrome yellow” school bus with the words “School Bus” at both the front and rear of the bus?
  • Was it a small or a large school bus?
  • Was the school bus stopped?
  • Were the upper red lights of the school bus flashing while it was stopped?
  • Were there passengers boarding or exiting the school bus?
  • Did the vehicle pass the school bus from the front or from behind the bus?

Any additional information including witnesses, photographs, etc. can be helpful when reporting to police.

Important: Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus. Fines range from $400 to $2,000.

Drivers – always stop for the bus

Whether on a city street, highway or county road, and regardless of the speed limit and the number of lanes, motorists travelling in both directions must stop when approaching a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing. A flashing stop arm will swing out while passengers are boarding or leaving the bus. (The only exception: on highways separated by a median, traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop). Once all passengers have boarded, the STOP arm will fold away. Do not start moving until the red lights have stopped flashing and the bus begins to move.

PENALTIES FOR NOT STOPPING

First offence: $400 to $2,000 and six demerit points

Each subsequent offence: $1,000 to $4,000, six demerit points and possible jail time up to six months