School Bus Safety

It is illegal and dangerous to pass a school bus when the lights are flashing.

It’s important for motorists, parents, caregivers and students to understand school bus safety and your responsibility.

School buses in PEI are specially marked and equipped with alternating amber and red flashing lights. Alternating flashing amber lights are displayed before a school bus stops to pick up or let off students. Drivers should be alert when these lights are flashing and be prepared to stop, reduce speed and proceed with caution.

When passing a school bus that does not have flashing lights on, do so with caution.

Alternating flashing red lights are used when the school bus is stopped to pick up or let off students. When a driver is approaching a school bus with the flashing red lights activated, the driver must stop the vehicle not less than six metres (20 feet) from the front or rear of the bus and remain stopped until the red lights stop flashing.

Many school buses are now equipped with cameras to capture any vehicle's licence plate that passes a school bus when the red lights are flashing.

It is illegal and dangerous to pass a school bus when the lights are flashing. In order to better protect Island students, drivers who illegally pass a school bus will lose their licence.

Drivers: Know the Law

Failing to stop for a school bus when the red lights are flashing will lead to a driver accumulating 12 demerit points, resulting in license suspension for three months. This is in addition to a fine of up to $5,000.

In order for a driver's licence to be reinstated, the driver must meet with officials of Highway Safety, pay a $100 reinstatement fee, and take a defensive driving course within six months. After the reinstatement, a driver is on a demerit point probation. This means that any further demerits within one year will result in a further licence suspension.

Students: Stay Safe

  • Be at your bus stop before the bus comes.
  • Wait in a safe place well back from the edge of the road - don't play in ditches or on snow banks.
  • Make sure you and the bus driver can see each other. 
  • Look all ways and wait for the driver to signal before you cross in front of a bus.
  • Walk at least 10 big steps from the front of the bus. If you can touch the bus, you're too close. 
  • Enter or exit the bus in single file. Never push or shove.
  • Walk - never run - across the road.
  • NEVER stop to pick up anything that you may have dropped. Ask an adult or the bus driver to help.

Reporting Drivers Who Don't Stop

Report a vehicle that doesn't stop properly for a school bus by calling a non-emergency phone number for police.

If you are driving when you see an incident, please pull over and park in a safe place before making the call. The following details may be helpful to police:

  • The date and time of the incident.
  • The vehicle's make, model, colour and licence number.
  • Who was driving?
  • Was the bus a "chrome yellow" school bus with the words "School Bus" at both the front and rear of the bus?
  • Was the school bus stopped?
  • Were the upper red lights of the school bus flashing while it was stopped?
  • Were there passengers boarding or leaving the school bus?
  • Did the vehicle pass the school bus from behind or was it coming toward the bus in the opposite lane?

Other details such as witness accounts or photographs can also help police.


Published date: 
September 7, 2021
Transportation and Infrastructure

General Inquiries

Access PEI/Highway Safety Head Office
33 Riverside Drive,
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Phone: 902-368-5200
Fax: 902-569-7560 

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All other Transportation and Infrastructure inquiries: 

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