Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System for School Buses
Bill or Act:
Highway Traffic Act
Summary of Proposal:
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.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) outlines equipment requirements for school buses, including (stop) warning systems. Current CSA requirements specify that all school buses built after 2005 must be equipped with an Eight Lamp Amber-Red warning system.
On May 12, 2021 PMB 246 received Royal Assent these regulatory amendments are required to support Bill 246 and to update the regulation to match the approved legislative amendments.
Legislative amendment completed via Private Members Bill 246 Safer School Buses, 2021 with an effective date of July 1, 2022. The legislation amendments include:
1.Updates the definition of school bus to allow words "do not pass when signals flashing" or "do not pass when red lights flashing" display on the rear of the bus.
2.Requirement to amend the wording on the rear of buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005 to be updated to read "the words "do not pass when red lights flashing"
3.Require all school buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005 to be equipped with 4 amber lights and 4 red lights and outline the placement of the lights.
4.Removes any reference to red only lights.
Amendments are required to Regulation 612 to match the HTA requirements.
These amendments will harmonize the regulation with the legislation by excluding school buses built in 2005 and later from the current requirement that all school buses have 8 red signal lights. School buses built before 2005 will continue to require 8 red signal lights. In addition, school buses built in 2005 and later will be required to display the words "Do not pass when red lights flashing" at the rear instead of the current warning language. Buses built prior to 2005 will continue to display the current wording.
Complementary amendments will be made to Regulation 950 (Proceedings Commenced by Certificate of Offence) under the Provincial Offences Act to assist with enforcement of the revised legislation and regulation.
Amendments to Regulation 612 and Regulation 950 will come into force on July 1, 2022, the same date that the legislative change comes becomes effective.
Ministry enforcement officials plan to provide an education period from July 1, 2022 until September 1, 2022 for bus owners to retrofit their vehicles.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Ontario's proposed regulation amendments align with legislative amendments to the Highway Traffic Act as an outcome of Private Members Bill 246 - Safer School Buses Act (2021) which mandates all school buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005 to operate an Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System in Ontario effective July 1, 2022.
Ontario's proposed regulatory amendments will yield safety benefits (improving clarity and communication to road users when school buses are slowing and stopping) and will align Ontario with federal school bus lighting standards followed in all other Canadian jurisdictions.
Costs associated with this regulation will be incurred by Ontario school bus operators in order to upfit lighting systems on school buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005 and replace of decals on school buses to reflect revised messaging. The costs of these are estimated and may vary based on approaches taken by school bus operators to complete required upfitting on vehicles.
Cost to School Bus Operators.
Costs to school bus operators accounts for one-time upfitting costs for all school buses manufactured after January 1, 2005 and include the replacement of lenses on lighting systems (replacement of four red coloured lenses with four amber coloured lenses) and the replacement of decals on back of all school buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005. The estimated costs including parts and labour is estimated at $155-$480 per vehicle (depending on vehicle type), plus applicable taxes.
- Lens Replacement: There are two vehicle bus types registered in Ontario which will be impacted and include: (1) school buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005 equipped with individual lenses (estimated at $125 per vehicle plus applicable taxes); and (2) school buses manufactured on or after January 1, 2005 equipped with lenses in a single panel (estimated at $450 per vehicle, plus applicable taxes)
- Decal Replacement: The cost for decal replacement is estimated at $30 per vehicle plus applicable taxes and is expected to be consistent regardless of vehicle type.
Cost to Government:
Roadside inspectors and auditors will require awareness of changes in addition to education and awareness among Ontario school bus operators leading up to the effective date of legislation and in advance of the 2022-23 school year. These costs will be absorbed into regular operations.
- Align & Support Legislative Changes: Proposed regulatory amendments align with legislative amendments to the Highway Traffic Act implemented as a result of Bill 246 - Safer School Buses Act which received royal assent on May 12, 2021.
- Improved Student Transportation Safety and Road Safety: The Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System improves clarity and communication to road users when school buses are slowing and stopping. This improves upon the system currently utilized in Ontario which uses red" lamps only.
- Alignment of School Bus Lighting Standards: The transition to the use of the Eight Lamp Amber-Red Warning System aligns Ontario with federal school bus lighting standards followed in all other Canadian jurisdictions.
November 29, 2021
Comments Due Date:
January 13, 2022
301 St Paul St, St Catharines ON L2R 7R4