Motorists must stop for school buses

SIX NATIONS – It may be time to remind motorists of the law regarding school buses, after a recent incident involving a school bus and a passing motorist was brought to the Two Row Time’s attention.

The incident occurred when a local child was exiting the school bus, lights flashing and rail deployed, when a motorist tried to pass the bus. The unknown motorist suddenly noticed that the bus was offloading a young passenger and slammed on his breaks leaving a long skid mark.

Fortunately, the vehicle stopped before the required 20 metre safety zone, but the sound of the screeching tires scared the youngster. When the child told his mother, she called the bus line to see if the incident was reported. It was not. Upon inquiry, the driver stated that since the vehicle did stop before intruding into the safety zone and therefore there was nothing to report.

This incident could easily have been much, much worse. The following is the law regarding passing of school buses and we encourage our readers to know and understand this important law to keep children in the community safe.

School bus stop laws are laws dictating what a motorist must do in the vicinity of a bus stop being used by a school bus or other bus, coach or minibus providing school transport.

The justifications for this protocol are:

– Children, especially the younger ones, have normally not yet developed the mental capacity to fully comprehend the hazards and consequences of street-crossing, and under U.S. laws, a child cannot legally be held accountable for negligence. For the same reason, adult crossing guards often are deployed in walking zones between homes and schools.

– It is impractical in many cases to avoid children crossing the travelled portions of roadways after leaving a school bus or to have an adult accompany them.

– The size of a school bus generally limits visibility for both the children and motorists during loading and unloading.


School bus stop laws


The school bus stop laws in Canada are usually based on 11-705 of the 1992 Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) excerpted below:

UVC 11-705(a) The driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus that meets the colour and identification requirements of 12-222(a), (b) and (c) of this code stopped on the highway shall stop before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus the flashing red lights specified in 12-222(a) and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights are no longer actuated.

Different from UVC 11-705(b), many places require red lights flashed whenever getting on or off children. Even if school bus drivers may signal traffic to proceed past flashing red lights, they may fail to exercise this authority and excessively block traffic.

UVC 11-705(c) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway or when upon a controlled-access highway and the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is a part of or adjacent to such highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

The following data talks about the law in this regard states that danger of passing stopped school buses depends on many factors. Common ranks of potential dangers from passing stopped school buses are provided with the most dangerous one listed first:


  1. Passing on the side that a child gets on or off a bus is the most dangerous.
  2. Passing more than 7 kilometres per hour while a child crosses a road to get on or off a school bus may not allow stopping in time.
  3. Overtaking more than 7 kilometres per hour directly next to a stopped school bus.
  4. Passing more than 7 kilometres per hour in the opposite direction directly next to a stopped school bus.
  5. Overtaking more than 3 metres away from a stopped school bus.
  6. Passing in the opposite direction, 3 metres or more away from a bus is the least dangerous.

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