School buses throughout the region are about to add another colour to their flashing light inventory, along with school buses across Ontario, as the province aligns its school bus indicator warning system requirements with those of the other provinces of Canada, and the entire United States.
The ‘Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System for School Buses’ is a safety initiative of the Government of Ontario, in relation the Private Members Bill 246 Safer School Buses, 2021. That bill, which received Royal Assent on May 12, 2021, requires all school buses built in 2005 or later be equipped with eight overhead indicator lights – four amber in colour, and four red – on both the front and back of the bus. This replaces the current requirement that school buses have eight red overhead indicator lights. The amber-coloured lights are meant to indicate that a school bus is slowing down to come to a stop, while the red-coloured lights indicate that the bus is making a stop and is not to be passed by other vehicles.
According to the provincial government, the School Bus Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System is “a safety initiative related to Private Members Bill 246 Safer School Buses, 2021, stakeholder requests, and a jurisdictional alignment of School Bus lighting standards. It would align Ontario with measures taken in all other provinces who have already adopted the Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System.”
Private Members Bill 246, 2021, amends the Highway Traffic Act, and will come into effect as of July 1, 2022. According to Tri-Board Transportation – the local school bus transportation service provider, which transports approximately 30,000 students daily throughout Kingston, Frontenac County, Napanee, Belleville, Trenton, Picton, and Gananoque – their buses are being outfitted with the new amber-red indicator light systems this summer, and active when the new school year begins in September 2022.
“Flashing overhead amber lights means that the bus is coming to a stop to pick up or drop off students. When you see a school bus slowing down with its overhead amber signal lights flashing, slow down and be prepared to stop,” Tri-Board Transportation said in a video released on Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2022.
“Once you see a school bus stop with its overhead red lights flashing, you must stop.”
More information on the implementation of the School Bus Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System from the Province of Ontario can be read here.