Fail to Stop for School Bus

About

When approaching a yellow school bus that has the red lights and stop sign activated, all drivers must stop their vehicles.

Vehicles must stop before reaching the bus and not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead signal lights have stopped flashing.

Under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, the charge is considered a serious offence as children’s lives can be threatened where vehicles do not stop.


Insurance Implications

Disobey school bus tickets will dramatically affect insurance rates for all drivers.


Novice Drivers

G1 and G2 licence holders are suspended for 30 days for any traffic ticket with 4 or more demerit points.

A conviction for this offence will cause the novice driver to go into licence suspension, as this ticket has 6 demerit points.

The effect of the conviction and licence suspension will put most novice drivers into high risk insurance rates.


Driver Abstracts/Records

Once the driver is convicted of a traffic ticket, the court sends a notice to the Ministry of Transportation. Upon receiving the record of conviction from the court the Ministry of Transportation then adds the conviction to the driving record.

Driving abstracts are available to anyone who has the drivers licence number for a fee payable to the Ministry of Transportation.


Insurance Companies

The way the insurance company will finds out about the ticket is;

Each insurance company is a private company with their own set of rules and standards.

Drivers need to keep their driving records clear.


Fines

The out of court fine for failing to stop for a school bus is $490.00.


Summons to Appear

Where the police officer issues a summons to appear or the driver disputes the ticket and appears in court, the Justice of the Peace (JP) can increase the fine up to $2,000.00.

Should the driver have a previous conviction within 5 years the fine is increased to:

  • minimum fine $1,000
    • maximum fine $4,000
  • jail up to 6 months, or
  • both

What is the Victim Fine Surcharge?

  • The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act.
    • It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
  • The amount of the VFS is usually 20 per cent of the imposed fine.
    • For example, a $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge.
    • Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25 per cent.

Penalties

School bus tickets have the following penalties:

  • out of court fine of $490.00
    • maximum fine of $2,000.00
    • subsequent offence
      • $1,000 to $4,000
      • up to 6 months jail
      • or both
  • 6 demerit points
  • conviction appears on driving abstract for 3 years
  • dramatically affects insurance rates

Demerit Points

School bus tickets have 6 demerit points.

The demerit points stay on the driving record/abstract for 2 years from the date of offence.


Demerit Point Suspensions

  • G1 and G2 drivers are suspended for
    • any ticket with 4 or more demerit points
    • accumulating 6 demerit points
  • G drivers are suspended for

Demerit Point Interviews

If you have to attend an interview, you will get a letter (Notice of Interview) to notify you of the time, date and location of the meeting. If you do not attend, your licence could be suspended.

The fee for a demerit point interview is $50 and must be paid in person at any ServiceOntario Centre.

You can pay the fee when you receive the Notice of Interview or within 10 business days of attending the interview.

Failure to pay the interview fee will result in the cancellation of your driver’s licence.


Suspensions

Licence Suspensions

Class G drivers are not for failing to stop for a school bus.

Novice drivers are suspended if they are convicted for failing to stop for a school bus.

The suspension is for 30 days for exceeding the demerit point limitations for novice drivers.


Unpaid fines

Drivers maybe suspended where any fine goes into default.

Where a drivers licence is suspended for an unpaid fine, the licence will be suspended until the payment is made to the court.

The reinstatement fee is $281.00


Demerit Point Suspensions

The accumulation of demerit points can result in a licence suspension.


Legal Definition

Highway Traffic Act 175 (1)

In this section,

“children” means,

(a) persons under the age of eighteen, and

(b) in the case where a school bus is being operated by or under a contract with a school board or other authority in charge of a school for the transportation of children to or from school, includes students of the school;

“developmental disability” means a condition of mental impairment, present or occurring during a person’s formative years, that is associated with limitations in adaptive behaviour;

“school” does not include a post-secondary school educational institution; (“école”)

“school bus” means a bus that,

(a) is painted chrome yellow, and

(b) displays on the front and rear thereof the words “school bus” and on the rear thereof the words “do not pass when signals flashing”.

Meaning of “bus”

(2) For the purposes of subsection (3), a motor vehicle shall be deemed to be a bus if it is or has been operated under the authority of a permit for which a bus registration or validation fee was paid in any jurisdiction.

Only school buses to be painted chrome yellow
(3) No part of a bus, except a bus that at any time during its current validation period is used to transport children or to transport adults who have developmental disabilities, shall be painted chrome yellow.

(3.1) If all or part of a bus operated under the authority of a permit issued under subsection 7 (7) is painted chrome yellow, the bus shall also display on its front and rear the words “school bus” and on its rear the words “do not pass when signals flashing”.

School bus signs

(4) No motor vehicle on a highway, other than a school bus, shall have displayed thereon the words “school bus” or the words “do not pass when signals flashing” or be equipped with a school bus stop arm.

Driving motor vehicle,

(5) No person shall drive or operate a motor vehicle on a highway that contravenes subsection (3),

School bus driver, signals

(6) Subject to subsection (9), every school bus driver,

(a) who is about to stop on a highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging children or receiving or discharging adults who have developmental disabilities, shall actuate the overhead red signal-lights on the bus;

(b) as soon as the bus is stopped for a purpose set out in clause (a), shall actuate the school bus stop arm; and

(c) while the bus is stopped for a purpose set out in clause (a) on a highway, shall continue to operate the overhead red signal-lights and stop arm until the passengers have been received or discharged and until all passengers having to cross the highway have completed the crossing.

School buses, stopping on highway

(7) Clause 170 (1) (a) does not apply to a driver who stops in accordance with subsection (6).

School buses, restriction on use of signals
(8) No person shall actuate the overhead red signal-lights or the stop arm on a school bus on a highway under any circumstances other than those set out in subsection (6).

(9) No person shall actuate the overhead red signal-lights or the stop arm on a school bus,

(a) at an intersection controlled by an operating traffic control signal system;

(b) at any other location controlled by an operating traffic control signal system at,

(i) a sign or roadway marking indicating where the stop is to be made,

(ii) the area immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk, if there is no sign or marking indicating where the stop is to be made, or

(iii) a point not less than five metres before the nearest traffic control signal, if there is no sign, marking or crosswalk; or

(c) within sixty metres from a location referred to in clause (a) or (b).

School bus loading zones

(10) No person shall stop a school bus on a highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging children or receiving or discharging adults who have developmental disabilities,

(a) opposite a designated school bus loading zone; or

(b) at a designated school bus loading zone, except as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 175 (10); 2001, c. 13, s. 18 (5).

Duty of drivers when school bus stopped

(11) Every driver or street car operator, when meeting on a highway, other than a highway with a median strip, a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing, shall stop before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.

Note: On a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, subsection 175 (11) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Duty of drivers when school bus stopped

(11) Every driver or street car operator, when meeting on a highway, other than a highway with a median strip, a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing, shall stop before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.

(11.1) Every driver or street car operator, when meeting on a highway, other than a highway with a median strip, a stopped school bus that has its stop arm actuated, shall stop before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the stop arm is no longer actuated.(12) Every driver or street car operator on a highway, when approaching from the rear a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing, shall stop at least twenty metres before reaching the bus and shall not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.

Case Law

R. v. Brake, 2007 CanLII 10887 (NL PC)
2007-03-29 | 6 pages
red pick-up truck — school bus — lights of the bus — visual signal — actus reus of the offence
[…] [1] Ms. Brake is charged with having failed to stop for a school bus, contrary to section 137(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, RSNL 1990, Ch. H-3 (the “HTA ”). […] direction a school bus that has stopped on a part of the highway or a loading zone provided at a school or other place where parking areas are provided for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children, or on which the visual signals signifying that the bus is about to stop have been activated by the driver, […] (a) where there is in operation on the school bus a visual signal as specified in the regulations shall stop the vehicle before reaching the bus; and […]


R. v. Machovkov, 2005 ONCJ 429 (CanLII)
2005-09-22 | 16 pages
school bus — flashing — lights — actuate the overhead red signal-lights — arm
[…] [1] The Appellant, Her Majesty The Queen, appeals against the acquittal of the Respondent, Albert Machovkov, of the offence of failing to stop for a school bus meeting on the 4th day of June, 2003 at 3:20 p.m. at Bayview Avenue in the Town of Richmond Hill contrary to section 175(11) of the Highway Traffic Act . […] For example, it would be difficult, in respect of a charge of failing to stop for a school bus exhibiting flashing lights, if the Crown had to prove that all equipment on the bus, including the lights, were in conformity with every element of the regulatory specifications and standards. […] of the record, there is no question that Constable Slykhuis saw Mr. Machovkov operate his motor vehicle northbound on Bayview Avenue at its intersection with Snivelly Road and that he failed to stop meeting a southbound school bus which had its overhead lights activated and the stop arm extended advising him to stop. […]


R. v. Djurovic, 2013 ONCJ 696 (CanLII)
2013-06-05 | 14 pages
school bus — flashing lights — officer — meters — activated
[…] Fail to stop for school bus ********** APPEARANCES: I. Lagden Municipal Prosecutor […] [1] The defendant, Mr. Djurovic, is charged on certificate of offence 6432557A with the offence of fail to stop for school bus, contrary to s. 175(11) of the Highway Traffic Act on the 26th of January 2012. […] [12] Further, the officer testified that a child was at the time exiting the school bus and that this motor vehicle failed to stop for the school bus. […]


R. v. Colaco, 2018 ONCJ 595 (CanLII)
2018-08-24 | 9 pages
highway with a median strip — school bus — exemption — overhead red signal-lights flashing — offence
[…] [1] Under Certificate of Offence no. 1260-7882938B the defendant, Tamara A. Colaco, stands charged that she on the 7th day of September, 2017, at 5851 Blue Spruce, in the City of Burlington, did commit the offence of “fail to stop for school bus – meeting”, contrary to subsection 175(11) of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. […] [7] While the defendant denies the allegation that she failed to stop for the school bus, which was stopped in one of the northbound lanes of Sutton Street at the southern limit of the said intersection, with its overhead red signal-lights flashing, she submits that she is exempt from liability for the offence on the basis […] [13] Accordingly, the primary issue in this proceeding is whether or not the prosecution has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt that at the material time, the defendant failed to stop for the school bus which was stopped on Sutton Street with its signal-lights flashing, before reaching the bus. […]