Stop School bus idling!

Do you sometimes see school buses parked on school property or on school trips, waiting for extended periods of times and with their engines running? This is not only illegal, against their policies and the school board policies, but its also harming their engine, wasting money from the school bus company and harming the environment. Besides harming the driver and bystanders, it is also harming the very students they are there to transport and safeguard!

The fact is that bus drivers can shut it off and should and they know it since it’s in their training. But as we know, it doesn’t always happen. There are always some who refuse to adhere to the rules or common sense. For those folks, we need to pay a little more attention to get them to follow suit, ideally out of kindness and a simple request, but if needed a ticket or being reprimanded is a final straw.

School bus exhaust is the #1 health risk and single greatest source of air pollution that many children are exposed to. Diesel exhaust causes cancer and diesel particulates damage their pink and still developing lungs. Therefore, ensuring school buses keep engines OFF while parked on school property should be the #1 priority of Principals and school boards across Canada. They have policies prohibiting this and bylaws that make it illegal, yet it happens everyday at thousands of schools.

At many schools, school buses are used to transport kids to and from school each day. But studies show that the interior of the buses have high levels of toxic pollutants and particulate matter which are harmful to young, developing lungs. The solution is simple and starts with parents and school administrators asking school bus companies and their drivers to not idle their buses for extended periods of time and to ensure all engines are turned off while parked at schools.

Engines should be off while buses are loaded at schools. They should only be turned on once the last student is on board and the doors are closed. Many schools are starting to follow this procedure and the result is a cleaner and safer commute for the kids and less air and noise pollution at the schools.

There are many myths and excuses that school bus companies and drivers hold on to. The facts are that buses can turn off and start properly when ready to move, which provides for a more efficient and greener ride for our children. Kids with respiratory illnesses like asthma will complain less about their illnesses as well.

Talk to your Principal and School Council to start a program today!

ACTION: Download a letter to bus drivers and present to them at the school while asking them to help make the school an idle free zone.

Need help getting started? DADA can provide pamphlets, signage, banners, and other resources to help with your school campaign: