School bus safety publications

To support school bus safety, we conduct testing and research. We also keep up to date with international best practices and new safety technologies. Read these reports, studies and procedures to learn more about safety on Canada's school buses.

Reports, studies and procedures

  • Strengthening School Bus Safety in Canada, Task Force on School Bus Safety (2020) (PDF, 1.26 MB)

    A review of safety measures, including driver assistance, safety features outside the bus, and occupant protection.

  • Technical Report: Literature Review of School Bus Occupant Safety, National Research Council Canada (2019) (available by request)

    A literature review of outcomes from international jurisdictions on school bus occupant safety.

  • Occupant Protection in Buses: A Brief Review of the Current Literature (2017)

    A literature review of research on bus crashworthiness and occupant protection.

  • Internal Research Report: Optimizing the Protection of School Bus Passengers (2010) (available by request)

    A summary of work to investigate child passenger protection on school buses.

    • Injury risks came from Canadian school bus collision investigations done from 1992 to 2010. Informed a crash test program with full‐scale frontal and side impact crash tests, along with sled testing.
  • Child Seats on School Buses (TP 2436, Revised 2007)

    An overview of school bus safety. Topics include:

    • safety standards and regulations
    • Transport Canada's role in school bus safety
    • safety record of school buses
    • risks outside the bus
    • compartmentalization (school bus safety design)
    • child seats for transporting young children
  • School Bus Collisions 1995-2004 (TP 2436, 2007)

    A summary of collisions that involved school buses from 1995 to 2004. Reviews:

    • the number of collisions that involved at least one school bus
    • the number of school buses involved in collisions
    • resulting deaths and personal injuries, both inside and outside the school bus
  • Usability Study of the Universal Anchorage System for Child Restraints in School Buses and Passenger Vehicles (TP 14702, March 2007)

    A study that assessed the effectiveness of universal anchorage systems in cars and school buses.

    • Recommends ways to use, label and provide instructions on anchoring systems. As of April 2007, Transport Canada required all new school buses to have a minimum number of seats with anchors.
  • Adjusting school bus mirrors to increase safety (TP 14603, Revised 2006)

    Procedures for how to adjust school bus mirrors. First developed in 1998 along with the Ministère des Transports du Québec.

  • School Bus Restraints for Small Children in Canada (TP 14325, 2004)

    A study that assessed the safety of preschool-aged children travelling in school buses, showing that:

    • these children would benefit from using child car seats that are right for their height and weight
    • older children are well protected without child car seats or booster seats

    As of April 1, 2007, all new school buses are required to have a minimum number of seats with lower and tether anchors, based on the bus' total number of passenger seats. This ensures each bus can safely accommodate small or preschool-aged children.

  • Comparison of Two Advance Signalling Systems Used on Canadian School Buses: Amber Lights and Red Lights (TP 13903, 2002) (available by request)

    A comparison of two advance signalling systems, amber lights (eight-light system) and red lights (four-light system):

    • The main goals were to analyze the relative effectiveness of the two advanced signaling systems in reducing the speed of motorists travelling in the oncoming lane and preventing stopping violations, as well as to survey bus drivers using these systems.
    • The two systems were almost equivalent in terms of mitigating risks for a child crossing the road.
    • Bus Drivers wanted a consistent approach across the country and driver education for motorists.
  • Bus Safety Consultations (TP 13713, 2001) (available by request)

    We held regional consultations on school bus safety:

    • consensus results of the session indicated that seat belts on school buses were not a priority issue
    • concerns were raised on safety issues such as school bus mirrors and crossing gates
  • Evaluation of Two School Bus Advance Signaling Devices: The Eight-Light System and Hazard Lights (TP 13346, 1999) (available by request)

    A study of advance signaling lights for traffic control:

    • on road testing performed to compare bus with and without advance signaling
    • advance signaling showed a reduction in the number of illegal passes by drivers coming from the opposite direction
  • Background Paper on School Bus Occupant Protection in Canada (TP 8013, 1987) (available by request)

    A summary of:

    • school bus accident and injury characteristics
    • standards that apply to school buses and their operation
    • results of field study on school buses with rear facing seats and seat belts
    • potential effectiveness of measures to improve school bus safety
  • School Bus Seat Development Study (TP 8445, 1987) (available by request)

    A study that looked at five different types of seating systems for school buses.

    • Recommended further investigation into two configurations: three-point belts and rear-facing seats
  • School Bus Safety Study (TP 6222, 1985) (available by request)

    Results from a literature survey, and discussions with stakeholders is presented:

    • summarizes a crash test program with three school buses
    • results indicate potential for greater head injury if lap belts are install

Note: Not all publications are available online. You can contact us to request a copy.

Contact us

Toll-free telephone: 1-800-333-0371
Local telephone: 613-998-8616 (Ottawa-Gatineau region)