Centre for Road Safety

You must slow down to 40km/h when bus lights flash.

Drivers should look out for children who are crossing the road or waiting to cross. Lights flash on buses to warn motorists that buses are picking up and dropping off children. By law, a driver must not overtake or pass a bus with flashing lights at more than 40km/h.

Lights begin to flash when the bus stops and the doors open, and they keep flashing for about 20 seconds after the doors close. Children are most at risk in the minutes after they get off the bus.

Young children are often unpredictable in their movements. They are still developing the skills that help them to judge the direction of sound and the speed and distance of vehicles.

We know that because of their sheer size and mass, buses can cause severe outcomes for other road users in crashes.  Motorists can help reduce the risk of a crash and keep children safe by:

  • Slowing down to 40km/h when bus lights are flashing
  • Looking out for children crossing the road near bus stops, in school zones or along bus routes
  • Giving way to buses when they merge back into traffic.

Rural and regional areas

Drivers must take extra care when driving past bus stops or along bus routes in rural and regional areas. Be aware of children crossing the road and slow down to 40km/h when bus lights flash. A stationary bus can impede your view of children near the bus.

Informal school bus stops are not sign-posted or developed as formal bus stops.