School Bus Safety - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

School Bus Safety


More than 800,000 children use school buses to get to and from school in Ontario, so it’s good to know that school buses have compiled an enviable safety record. Described by the Canada Safety Council as one of the safest forms of transportation, and 16 times safer than travelling in the family car, the government is looking for ways to make it even safer.

The argument against seatbelts on school buses

Keeping passengers safe in the event a school bus is in an accident has relied on the design of the interior. School buses use compartmentalization to protect passengers in a collision. Compartmentalization relies on the design, materials and method of installation of the seats, including:

  • Designing the seats with high backs
  • Stuffing each seat with material that absorbs the energy of an impact
  • Installing seats close together, so passengers are protected within the compartment formed by the seats
  • Using strong, reinforced fasteners to secure each seat to the frame of the bus

Compartmentalization combined with the massive size and safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, have made seatbelts unnecessary in the view of many safety experts and government officials. Included among the arguments made against installing seatbelts are the following:

  • It would be difficult for drivers to ensure that each child is secured in a properly adjusted seatbelt and shoulder harness.
  • Restraint systems would require stiffer seats to accommodate them, but children not properly buckled into a seatbelt and shoulder restraint could be injured by slamming into the stiffer and less energy absorbing seats.
  • Improperly adjusted seatbelts and harnesses, particularly when used to restrain small children, can allow a child to slip out of the restraints in a collision or be injured by the belts.
  • Children buckled into seatbelts and shoulder harnesses could delay an evacuation of the vehicle in an emergency.

Opinions about seatbelts on school business are not, however, unanimously against them.

Transport Canada weighs in on seatbelts

One group that could benefit from the use of seatbelts on school buses is children younger than 4 ½ years of age. For this younger age group, Transport Canada recommended the use of the same type of child seat used in automobiles in school buses. The seats would be attached using a seatbelt and tether.

The government has moved quickly to draft regulations, so companies installing seatbelts will have standards to follow. For example, Transport Canada has restraints that go over a passenger’s shoulders instead of a lap-only belt.

What Ontario requires to ensure the safety of school children on buses

Drivers operating school buses in Ontario must meet strict training standards and be licensed to operate a school bus. School buses in the province must be equipped with a safety arm that extends from the front of the vehicle to force children into the driver’s line of sight when they cross in front of the vehicle.

Ontario imposes fines up to $2,000 on motorists who ignore the flashing red lights displayed by a school bus stopped to load or discharge children. The law also imposes six demerit points against a driver who violates it by passing a stopped school bus. Vehicle owners can be charged even if they were not present and someone else was driving at the time of the violation.

An Ontario personal injury lawyer can help

If your child is injured in a school bus accident, you should speak to the experienced and trusted personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond. Their proven record of success obtaining compensation for people who have been injured in all types of accidents makes them an excellent resource to go to when you need a personal injury lawyer. Don’t delay, contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

Leave a Reply


Get the help you deserve


Call NOW for a free consultation


Diamond & Diamond Ontario Head Office

255 Consumers Road, 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario

>> Learn More

Diamond & Diamond Alberta Head Office

4246 97 Street NW, Unit 103, Edmonton, Alberta

>> Learn More

Diamond & Diamond British Columbia Head Office

1727 West Broadway, Suite 400, Vancouver, British Columbia

>> Learn More


168 Bayfield Street


1331 Macleod Trail SE, Suite 645


2713 14 St SW


600 Crowfoot Crescent NW #240


4246 97 Street NW, Unit 103


256 Pall Mall St, Suite 102

Oakville / Mississauga

2939 Portland Drive, Suite 200


50 Richmond Street E, Unit # 108 B


955 Green Valley Crescent, Unit 315


31 Larch Street, Unit 300


1104 – 13737 96 Ave, Surrey, BC V3V 0C6


255 Consumers Road, 5th Floor


1678 Bloor Street, Suite 302


1727 West Broadway, Suite 400


13158 Tecumseh Rd. E. Unit 3B