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Proposed new school bus lighting system will provide greater warning to drivers

If passed, this bill would see Ontario join the rest of Canada and the United States by adopting the amber warning lights on school buses
20190830 school bus lights flashing opp

A bill was introduced this week to require school buses manufactured after 2005 to be equipped with the amber-red dual lamp warning system by September 2022.

The Private Member’s Bill, called the Safer School Buses Act, was introduced today by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris.

The bill proposes to replace the two inner red overhead signals on the front and back of a school bus with amber lights which would activate when a school bus driver is approaching a stop. This system would provide drivers with more notice that a bus will be stopping and a clear indication of when a student may be on the roadway. 

The mother of Mattawa's Adam Ranger, who was killed by a driver who failed to stop for a school bus, took to the BayToday Facebook page to react to the news.

"The more safety the better. I speak as a mother who's son Adam was killed because a driver didn't STOP FOR THE SCHOOL BUS. Thank you Mr Harris for fighting along with us to keep kids safe!"

See: Let's remember Adam.

And: 21 years after Adam Ranger's death his brother advocates to prevent more tragedies

“As a parent, I firmly believe that safety should be the number one priority, especially when it comes to the buses children take to and from school," said Harris. "Now is the time for Ontario to join the rest of North America and adopt the amber-red warning system to make buses as safe as possible."

In a study published in 2002, Transport Canada recommended that all provinces use the amber-red system. This study found that amber warning lights were more consistent at slowing approaching vehicles down and yielded fewer stopping violations. Since 2014, every other province in Canada has adopted the system.

“School Bus Ontario is pleased to support MPP Mike Harris' Private Members Bill that will, if passed, move toward the adoption of the 8-lamp system to warn motorists of the need to stop when the lights are flashing," said Nancy Daigneault, Executive Director of School Bus Ontario."The 8-lamp system is a definite road safety benefit, primarily to students, compared to the all-red warning system that is currently in use in the province,” 

The Ministry of Transportation has required all school buses purchased in Ontario after January 1, 2005 to be manufactured with 8 overhead signal lights. For most bus models this change would only require a replacement of the lens cap.

The bill will be debated during second reading on March 3.