Protecting our Children on and off the School Bus

Outside the School Bus

Promoting safety when children are off the school bus (crossing the street to the bus) involves:

  • Instructing children on how to cross the street to and from the school bus
  • Educating the public about the dangers of passing a school bus illegally, especially Red Light Violations.
  • Ensuring adequate police enforcement on the streets
  • Issuing tickets of over $400 to first time offenders

Orientation Day

The Nova Scotia School Board Association have mandated an “Orientation Day” each year for young children about to start Grade Primary where children get to take a short trip on a school bus with their parents. This activity helps by:

  • Calming any fears the children might have about riding on a bus;
  • Answering questions that parents have about bus design and bus stops in their area;
  • Giving bus drivers a direct chance to teach students proper school bus behaviour.

School Bus Design

A school bus is designed primarily for children.  There are close to 40 federal standards for the design of school buses. These standards cover safety features such as the following:

  • Burn resistance for materials used inside the school bus
  • A frame to help the school bus remain intact in a rollover crash
  • A protective cage for the fuel tank to reduce the possibility of fuel leaks
  • Seats are high off the ground to reduce of injury in a side impact collision
  • The bus is painted yellow and has reflective tape to attract attention

School Bus Driver Requirements

In Nova Scotia, school bus drivers must:

  • Have a class 1 or 2 license with a B or C endorsement;
  • Pass their medical and eye exams;
  • Complete training requirements of their school board;
  • Make sure the school bus is in excellent mechanical shape;
  • Perform a daily pre-trip inspection of the bus and report any safety defects;
  • Perform a safety inspection twice a year;
  • Maintain order on the school bus to minimize distractions.

Seat Belts on School Buses

Seat belts are not provided on the school buses; however the school bus seats are designed to provide optimal safety for students without these restraints, a form of protection is called "compartmentalization." School bus seats have high backs spaced closely together with soft padding so that children are kept between seats in the event of an accident.

Built-In Child Car Seats

Transport Canada testing has indicated that child car seats may improve safety for preschool aged children under 18kg (40 pounds), when travelling on a school bus. School boards in Nova Scotia order built-in child car seats when they order new buses. Depending on the type of school bus, there are up to eight built-in child car seats per bus.

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