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Thanks to an observant trainer and a professional associate driver for correcting an unintentional misunderstanding for me today.  With the amount of confusion Googling the information, I felt I should put this in a blog post for anyone who needs it for reference.

The situation was that I mistakenly understood that when a School Bus is on one side of a clearly divided roadway with their red lights engaged, that on the other side of the divide, it was ok to proceed with caution.  In other provinces, this is an acceptable practice, however, that it's not permitted, specifically in Nova Scotia.

**To those of you coming into the province from other ones, this is a VERY important change in your driving habits that might fly under the radar.

The law in Nova Scotia states [paraphrased], that when a school bus has flashing red lights, no matter what side of the road you're on, no matter if it's divided or not, now matter how many lanes the road has, you are required to stop.  PERIOD.  no questions, no exceptions. 

When the reds are retracted, you then, and ONLY THEN, are allowed to proceed.  If the ambers (yellows) are on, you ARE permitted to pass, WITH CAUTION, and the expectation that you may be required to stop at any moment.

This applies to ALL vehicles, including emergency vehicles, ATVs, bicycles and more.

At the time of this post: 

  • The first offence fine for going (passing or proceeding in any way) through the flashing reds of a School bus is $410 CAD. 
  • The first offence fine for not using caution (slowing down, being observant etc) while passing a bus with flashing ambers is $295 CAD.

The law does go on to state "on or near a highway" -- for which I have a few questions about for clarification to be researched at a future date...