The Ontario School Bus Association (OSBA) is a non-profit association providing advocacy, education, and legislative consultation services to the owners of school bus fleets, school boards/transportation consortia and supplier/manufacturer companies across Ontario.  
September 18, 2019 - Issue 19

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Inside this Edition:
  1. Handheld Radio Exemption Potentially Becoming Permanent
  2. REMINDER - 2019 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award
  3. Ontario Government Seeking Comment on Photo Radar in School Zones
  4. Passing of Ted Tyler - Tyler Transport
  5. ‘Stop-Arm Cameras’ Installed on Four More Ottawa School Buses: Police
  6. Driver Honored for Saving Student From Truck Passing Her School Bus
  7. Ford Government Asking Public to Weigh in on Proposed Photo Radar Changes
  8. Bus Driver Comforts Student on First Day of School
  9. Iowa Becomes Fifth State to Require Lap/Shoulder Seatbelts In School Buses
  10. Passing of Stephen Taylor - Former Director of Consortium de transport scolaire d'Ottawa (CTSO)
  11. P.E.I. Rolls out Safer, More Environmentally-Friendly Buses
  12. Order Your OSBA Publications For Back-to-School Now!
  13. Upcoming Events
Handheld Radio Exemption Potentially Becoming Permanent 

On September 18, 2019, the Ministry of Transportation announced they are seeking comment on proposed updates to the distracted driving regulation which would make the temporary two-way radio exemption for large truck and bus drivers permanent.  The temporary exemption was previously extended in December 2017 and is set to expire on December 31, 2020.

OSBA is supportive of making the temporary two-way radio exemption for large truck and bus drivers permanent and has been advocating that MTO explore a permanent exemption for the student transportation industry.  OSBA’s submissions requested that the permanent exemption include both school buses and school purpose buses, as well as school purpose vehicles (e.g. minivans, etc.).  The rationale to include all types of school vehicles was to reinforce that two-way radios are a key safety device used in the student transportation industry and preventing their use in certain school buses and school purpose vehicles will have a number of unintended consequences.

OSBA is pleased with this proposal and will continue to pursue a permanent exemption for school purpose vehicle drivers as the current proposal does not include drivers of these vehicles (e.g. minivans, etc).

It is important to note that this exemption only applies to two-way radios.  The use of other handheld communication or entertainment devices, such as cell phones or MP3 players, continues to be prohibited.

Anyone who wishes to find out more information about the regulatory registry posting or provide comment can view the information here.  The comment period will remain open until November 4, 2019.

For further information, or to provide any comments, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team at or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
REMINDER - 2019 OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award

Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2019

A quick reminder regarding the OSBA Driver Excellence Recognition Award – the September 30th nomination deadline is fast approaching!  We hope that you will consider nominating a special school bus driver in your organization or area.  Further details and links to the nomination forms are below.

** Again this year, a financial award of $1000 will be paid to the winning driver and $100 to the nominator of the winning driver. ** 

The form can be found at the following links:

All nomination forms will be reviewed and one candidate selected by a committee of the OSBA Board of Directors.  The winner will be recognized and announced on the OSBA website, in the OSBA annual magazine “School Bus Ontario”, in the OSBA bi-weekly newsletter, and an announcement made during the 2020 Ontario Transportation Expo (OTE) being held April 19-22, 2020 in Toronto. 

We look forward to hearing from you by September 30th.  If you have any questions, comments, ideas, suggestions - please do not hesitate to contact us, 416.695.9965 or

Ontario Government Seeking Comment on Photo Radar in School Zones

On May 30, 2017, the Ontario government passed the Safer School Zones Act which authorized the use of Automated Speed Enforcement, also known as photo radar in school zones.  While the provisions of this Act are not yet in force, when they do come into effect, the Safer School Zones Act will restrict the use of photo radar to school zones where the speed limit is less than 80 km/hr and will provide that individual municipalities govern their installation and use.

The Ministry of Transportation is now seeking comment on the development of Highway Traffic Act regulations which will support the use of photo radar in school zones by providing municipalities the authority to install photo radar within school zones of their choosing (provided the speed limit is less than 80 km/hr) and manage any offences through the existing mechanisms provided by the Ontario Red Light Camera program.

Anyone who wishes to find out more information about the regulatory registry posting or provide comment can view the information here.  The comment period will remain open until October 3rd, 2019.

For further information, or to provide any comments, please contact the OSBA Safety and Legislation Team at or 416-695-9965 Ext. 4.
Passing of Ted Tyler - Tyler Transport

Ted Tyler of Tyler Transport peacefully passed away on Thursday, August 22, 2019 in his 87th year from complications of Dementia. Ted was the loving husband of Dolores for 64 years, dear father of Angela Ash (Jason), and predeceased by his eldest daughter Tracey Tyler (2012). Proud grandfather of Jayme and Austin Ash. Ted was born on August 30, 1932 in Acton, he was the only child of Edward “Ted” Sr. and Gwen Tyler. Ted’s family is grateful for the exceptional care and compassion given to him by Sunrise Memory Care in Burlington and Amica Memory Care Georgetown.

If desired, donations to the Acton Citizen’s Band or Heritage Acton or a charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family.

‘Stop-Arm Cameras’ Installed on Four More Ottawa School Buses: Police

Full Article: Global News
Article Date: September 5, 2019

Four more school buses in Ottawa have been kitted out with “stop-arm cameras” as children head back to school for the fall, Ottawa police say. Two buses had previously been equipped with the cameras — which capture video of vehicles that pass stopped school buses with their stop-sign arm extended — back in May.

“This type of technology will help us deter dangerous driving from vulnerable children and youth getting on and off school buses,” Staff Sgt. Marc-Andre Sheehy of the traffic services unit said in a news release. 

In Ontario, it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus with its lights flashing. The fine for doing so is $490 and it’s issued to the registered owner of the offending vehicle — even if the owner wasn’t the one behind the wheel at the time, according to police. Ottawa police say only sworn officers review any footage captured by the camera systems and they can use it to decide whether to issue a ticket or lay charges in an incident. Each stop-arm camera system includes four cameras, all installed on the exterior of the bus, according to police. Six buses in total now have the cameras.

Officials said they’re hopeful the cameras will help increase awareness among drivers, help police deploy traffic enforcement resources more efficiently and improve safety for students at bus stops. “Student safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Vicky Kyriaco, General Manager and Chief Administrative Officer of the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA), said in the release. “We are grateful the City and Ottawa Police Service have invested in these camera systems to enforce laws designed to protect our vulnerable children and youth on their way to and from school.”
Driver Honored for Saving Student From Truck Passing Her School Bus

Full Article: School Bus Fleet
Article Date: September 16, 2019

A school bus driver in Inverness (FL) was honored for her heroic actions after helping prevent a student from being hit by a truck that illegally passed her bus in April. The incident, which took place on April 18, 2019 was captured on a video surveillance camera on a Citrus County School District bus, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page. The footage reportedly shows the student getting off the bus in the eastbound lanes, when the driver, Becky Schaffer, alerts the student to get back on the bus as the truck speeds by. The student, according to the district, was able to hear Schaffer and safely reenter the bus.

Citrus County School District board members and Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel presented Schaffer with the district's "Making a Difference Award" in honor of her quick actions, according to a board meeting video on the district’s website. While presenting the award, Himmel said “I truly believe she saved the life of this student,” and “what a marvelous job she did with her alertness to keep our kids safe.”

The Citrus County School District added in its Facebook post that Schaffer is a “true hero,” and that the district thanks her for her “quick actions in this situation and also the tremendous job you do for our kids each and every day.”

Despite being called a hero, Schaffer told Fox 13 News that she was only doing her job. She added that she hopes this incident will serve as a reminder for motorists to slow down, and that “it’s not worth it to go flying by and take a chance of risking my life, your life, and our kid’s life.”

View the full post from Citrus County School District as well as screenshots of the bus surveillance video, posted on the district’s Facebook page, here.
Ford Government Asking Public to Weigh in on Proposed Photo Radar Changes

Full Article: CBC News
Article Date: September 4, 2019

The Ford government is seeking public comment on proposed regulatory changes that would allow municipalities to bring in automated speed enforcement (ASE) systems, better known as photo radar, at school and community safety zones. Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is proposing amendments to the Highway Traffic Act, as well as other regulatory changes, which would allow municipalities to adopt photo radar in these zones on roads with a speed limit of less than 80 km/h.

The changes would also streamline the process for municipalities looking to join the province's Red Light Camera Program.

"This initiative will impose no regulatory impact on vehicle operators or owners that comply with road safety regulations, and no impact on businesses in Ontario," a summary of the government's proposal reads. "However, owners of vehicles that are used to violate speed limits in community safety or school zones where ASE systems are used would be fined."

When changes are adopted, photo radar would remain an optional program for municipalities. The City of Toronto wants to put photo radar in school zones as part of its Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic-related fatalities. Last year, the city put dozens of ASEs in school zones, but they could only gather data. The ability to ticket or charge drivers will come into effect when the province brings in its regulatory changes.

On the first month of school in the province, Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city wants to install 50-speed enforcement cameras in school and community zones once the province passes the required legislation. He also noted that the city has established some 136 school safety zones, with plans to complete 63 more by year's end.

Meanwhile, municipal police forces across the GTA are conducting safety blitzes in school zones. The back-to-school blitz comes during a particularly tragic year so far on the city's streets. A map of fatal collisions from the Toronto police traffic services division shows that 20 pedestrians have died in the city so far this year.

The Ontario government is inviting public comment until October 3, 2019.
Bus Driver Comforts Student on First Day of School

Full Article: School Bus Fleet
Article Date: September 13, 2019

A photo of a school bus driver in Augusta (WI) comforting a frightened student on his first day of school, taken by his mother, is being shared widely on social media. The mother of Axel, a student starting a 4-year-old kindergarten program, was trying to take a photo of her son happily riding the school bus for the first time, but he became upset when it was time to board the bus, according to WEAU News. Axel’s mother had to help him aboard, seating him just behind the driver, Isabel Lane. As Axel's mother took the photo, Lane placed her hand behind the seat for him to hold onto. 

Lane, a bus driver for Augusta School District, said of the gesture that “it's just something that I would do,” according to the news source. She added that an action as simple as reaching out a hand to show someone who is struggling that you are there “makes a big difference in someone's day." Lane added that Axel was waiting at the bus stop the next day by himself with a smile on his face and talked with her “the whole time,” according to WEAU News.

The heartwarming image has been posted on the Augusta Police Department’s Facebook page and has been shared 406 times so far. The police department added in its post that "The compassion we see every day in our teachers, bus drivers, custodians, administration, food service staff, and paraprofessionals is truly admirable. ... We are so fortunate to be able to partner with these people!"
Iowa Becomes Fifth State to Require Lap/Shoulder Seatbelts In School Buses

Full Article: School Transportation News
Article Date: September 10, 2019

A new rule in Iowa will require that lap/shoulder seatbelts are installed in all new school buses ordered on or after Oct. 2, 2019. The Iowa State Board of Education adopted the rules earlier this summer and was awaiting a final review by the state’s Administrative Rules Reviews Committee. Max Christensen, state director of student transportation at the Iowa Department of Education, said the legislative panel approved the rule on Tuesday morning. The rules update Chapter 44 of the Iowa Administrative Code. Many Iowa officials have spoken in favor of lap/shoulder seatbelts and have been advocating for the requirement for years.

The new rule estimates the cost of adding a three-point lap/shoulder belt to be $123 per seating position on a school bus. Based on that calculation, the additional cost to install lap/shoulder seatbelts in a 68-passenger school bus that is purchased in Iowa during 2016-2018, would be $8,364. However, it is up to each local school district to decide how to implement and mandate the procedures.

In conjunction with seatbelts, the rule also requires other safety equipment on newly-purchased school buses, which includes:
  • An additional stop-arm installed on the left side at or near the left rear corner of Type C and D school buses
  • Handrails in the bus stairwell
  • Exterior boarding lights
  • A fire-resistant crash barrier between the front row passenger seat and the bus driver compartment 
Previously, the Iowa Pupil Transportation Association (IPTA) held a controlled school bus crash test during its annual conference in July 2019, to better understand how belted and unbelted occupants react during a crash. Local crash investigators operated the bus by remote control and crashed it nearly head-on into a parked car and an SUV.

The school bus was supposed to also completely rollover, but it remained in an upright position following the crash. IPTA concluded the test did confirm that compartmentalization does not always keep unbelted occupants from flying out of their seats, even in a frontal- or rear-impact collision.

As of July 2019, there are 16 school districts in Iowa that have already implemented three-point seatbelts. The biggest reported change has been a decrease in onboard student behavior issues.
Passing of Stephen Taylor - Former Director of Consortium de transport scolaire d'Ottawa (CTSO)

Former Director of the Consortium de transport scolaire d'Ottawa (CTSO), Stephen Taylor passed away on September 1, 2019. Husband of Thérèse Bouvier, he leaves to mourn his children: Patrick (Véronique Têtu) and Catherine (Rob Townsend) and grandchildren: Alexandre, Vincent, Audrey, Bianca and Mathieu. He also leaves two sisters: Jacqueline (Baxter Macdonald) and Mariette and is survived by his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law of the Bouvier family: Pierre (Monique Taschereau) Françoise (Jean Bélanger), Luc, Claude, Yves (Manon St. Denis), Paul and Philippe and many nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends.

Your marks of sympathy can result in a donation to the Gatineau Health Foundation. The family wishes to sincerely thank the intensive care staff of the Gatineau Hospital. Your messages of condolence can be sent to
P.E.I. Rolls out Safer, More Environmentally-Friendly Buses

Full Article: CBC News
Article Date: August 28, 2019

The P.E.I. provincial government is rolling out 42 new school buses, at a cost of $4.4 million, as part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions and improve student safety. After an inspection of the school bus fleet earlier this summer, the province made a decision to accelerate the replacement of some older buses by purchasing an additional 22 this year. Each 70-passenger bus cost about $100,000.

"Our students really are our future and safety is our primary concern," said Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Brad Trivers. "We move a lot of students back and forth, I believe it's around 15,000, every day to school and then every day back home, and so we need to make sure they're safe." 

The buses come with added safety features including two stop arms and a new roof-mounted strobe light that stays on at all times making it easier for drivers to see the buses, particularly in bad weather when visibility is poor. 

"It's there to just create that visual pull on drivers' eyes to make sure that they see the bus," bus driver Jordan Stewart said. "It's visible from very far away and anything that we can do to try and get the travelling public to see us is the big thing." 

Another reason the province purchased the buses was to cut down on expensive repairs to its aging fleet. The new buses will also run on gasoline instead of diesel, which is a first for the province. "We took a look at electric buses, we weren't quite there yet," Trivers said. He also said the new buses produce 7.2 percent fewer emissions compared to the old diesel buses.  "They're also cheaper to maintain for various reasons."

The province plans to use the new buses on high-volume roads like provincial highways and on routes where motorists have been known to illegally pass stopped school buses. "It is our collective responsibility to keep them safe on our roads, streets, and sidewalks," Trivers said. "The best thing we can all do to keep our children safe is to slow down in school zones and remain stopped until the red lights on the bus stop flashing."

Twenty-two of the buses arrived this summer. The remaining buses should be on provincial roads by October. 
Order Your OSBA Publications For Back-to-School Now!

Visit the OSBA website at and click on the "STORE" tab from the home page to order the following OSBA publications. Or click on the links below and go directly to each order form:
Once you have completed the necessary order form, please scan/email it to or fax it to 416-695-9977.
Copyright © 2019 Ontario School Bus Association
All rights reserved.  This publication is intended for the exclusive use of OSBA Members.  Reproduction without prior permission is prohibited.

Contact OSBA:
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Tel.416.695.9965 Fax 416.695.9977 |
Please address all enquiries and submissions to  Opinions expressed do not necessarily express the opinions of the OSBA or its Board of Directors. Nor does acceptance of advertising constitute endorsement.

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