April 4, 2007

Ontario government to fund mandatory crossing arms for all school buses in province

Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario provincial government has announced it is providing immediate funding to school bus operators to put a safety crossing arm on the front bumper of every school bus. Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield made the announcement at Queen’s Park yesterday.

“Protecting the safety of children on Ontario roads is something the McGuinty government takes very seriously,” Cansfield said. “About 800,000 students regularly use school buses every weekday to travel to and from school, for field trips, special outings and for special travel needs. This is an important step toward making the school bus, already the safest vehicle on the road, even safer.”

Crossing arms are wire or plastic devices extending from the front bumper on the right side of the school bus, ensuring children cross at a safe distance from the bus. As of January 1, 2005, the government made it mandatory that new school buses have crossing arms; with yesterday’s announcement, all remaining school buses in Ontario must be equipped with the arms, effective January 1, 2008. There are approximately 17,000 yellow school buses operating in Ontario, with an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 requiring retrofitting. The government has committed $2 million toward the cost. The funding will also be available to school bus operators who added the arms to older buses at their own expense.

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