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Student Safety

Children are not the only ones who should be reminded about school bus safety. Teaching the school bus safety rules to parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, principals, and motorists is an important part of the safety and personal security of the children who ride the bus to school and home.  According to Transport Canada, the greatest risk to student safety is outside the bus, when children are getting on and off. Education and awareness about the correct way to enter and exit the bus, cross the street and to stay away from the "danger zone" is crucial to child safety.   

Information for Riders, Parent and Motorists

School Bus Safety Rules

In Ontario, there are more than 18,000 school buses travelling 2 million kilometres on a typical school day.  School bus drivers follow specific instructions to load and unload passengers.  This is one of the most important responsibilities of the driver as most incidents occur outside the bus.

We ask everyone to stay safe by remembering these rules:

Getting on and off the bus:

  • Be at the bus stop before the bus arrives
  • Wait for the bus at a safe place away from the road
  • The bus driver will tell you when to get on
  • Always use the hand rail
  • Never push or shove
  • Take two giant steps away from the bus when getting off
  • Walk, don't run away from the bus

On the bus:

  • Sit facing the driver, feet in front of you
  • Keep hands and your head inside the bus
  • Keep the aisle clear at all times
  • Always follow the bus driver's instructions

Crossing the road:

  • Always cross the road in front of the bus, never behind
  • Take at least 10 giant steps in front of the bus
  • Pass the crossing arm; stop and look at the driver to give you the signal to cross
  • Walk, never run across the road

And remember:

  • If you can touch the bus, you are too close
  • Use 10 GIANT STEPS to take you out of the DANGER ZONE
  • Be sure you can see the driver and that the driver sees you
  • IF YOU DROP ANYTHING IN THE DANGER ZONE, NEVER STOP TO PICK IT UP.  Ask an adult or the driver to help 

First Rider Program

If you know the name of the school bus company in the area that transports to your child’s school, feel free to contact them directly and ask if they provide a “first-timer” briefing or similar program.  Where should parents begin when preparing their child to ride the school bus for the first time?  Contact the school board in your area.  The school board is responsible for bussing children to school and home and can advise you of any programs that they provide, or that the school bus company may provide to help with first-time school bus riders. 

Also, contact the school bus company that transports your child to school and ask if they provide a "first-time rider" briefing or similar program.

First Rider Programs are frequently organized by the school bus company providing service to a school.  These programs familiarize very young first time riders, parents and guardians about school bus safety.  Children are taught how to get on and off the bus safely while parents and guardians are reminded to make sure their child(ren) know what to do if for example, they miss the bus or get off at the wrong stop.  This program reviews the school bus safety rules and provides the opportunity to ask questions. 

Contact your local transportation provider or school board to find out when a First Rider Program is offered in your area:

During School Bus Safety Week, bus operators, school boards and transportation consortia organize events and activities to remind everyone to watch for children crossing the street, especially before and after school.  This is an excellent opportunity for safety awareness and community partnerships. School Bus Safety Week is an annual event during the third week of October.

School Safety Patrollers

School Safety Patrol programs protect school children by employing safe street-crossing practices and educating motorists on the illegal passing of a school bus.  Safety patrollers are student volunteers who have been trained by local police services to use potentially life-saving skills while on duty.  Patrollers learn how to react in life-threatening situations and manage multiple students at the same time. 

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) developed the School Safety Patrol program almost 80 years ago.  Student volunteers operate in more than 800 elementary schools in Ontario.  To start a program in your area, simply contact the community service officer of your local police service and ask about implementing the program or contact CAA for more information,

For more information about student safety visit the links below:

School Bus Safety Smarts

School Bus Safety - Information for Riders, Parents, and Motorists

Media Conference in Partnership with CAA - October 19, 2010 

OSBA - Ontario School Bus Association
3075 Lenworth Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, L4X 2G3
Tel. 416-695-9965 / Fax 416-695-9977

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