School bus warning signs and lights

There are specific requirements for the types of signs and lights for school buses depending on when the signs and lights were fitted.

Buses fitted with warning signs and lights prior to July 1999

Warning signs and lights must be fitted to a school bus (including buses not greater than 4.5 tonne gross vehicle mass) in accordance section 12 of the NT Inspection Manual for Heavy Vehicles (3.7 mb).

Buses fitted with warning signs and lights after June 1999

Warning signs

A front warning sign at the front of the bus must either:

  • display the words 'SCHOOL BUS' in capital letters at least 100mm high on a sign that is in contrasting colours
  • display an image of two children, with the image of the taller child at least 230mm high.

Option one:

School bus warning sign

Option two:

 

Front warning sign

Rear warning sign

Rear warning sign must display an image of two children, with the image of the taller child at least 230mm high. 

Warning sign specifications

 

Warning sign with lights

The warning sign must be a rectangular shape at least:

  • 550mm wide and 400mm high if warning lights are on the warning sign
  • or 400mm wide and 250mm high.

It must have a black border, black graphics and be coated with yellow retro-reflective material: 

 

Front warning sign

Warning lights

Two warning lights must be fitted to the front and rear of the bus according to all of the below:

  • on each side of, and the same distance from, the centre of the warning sign
  • so the edge of the warning sign is not over 100mm from the nearest point on the lens of the warning lights
  • so the distance between the warning lights is at least 300mm at the nearest point
  • so no part of the bus obstructs the light displayed:
    • 30 degrees to the left and right of the centre of each light
    • 10 degrees above and below the centre of each light.

Warning light positions

Warning light position for school bus sign

Warning light visibility angles

The warning lights may be on the warning sign if the words or image on the sign are not obscured.

The warning lights at the same end of the bus must be fitted according to all of the below:

  • at the same height
  • as high as practicable
  • with the lowest point on the lens of each light not lower than midway between the highest and lowest points on the bus body.

Position of warning lights (above midway bus body height)

Right hand side position of warning lights (when under 1.8 metres high)

If the centre of the warning lights is under 1.8m above ground level, no part of the warning lights or warning sign may be on the left of the bus.

Operating warning lights

When operating, a warning light must display regular flashes of yellow light at a rate of at least 90, and not more than 180, flashes a minute.

The warning lights at the same end of the bus must flash alternately.

Unless the driver has turned the warning lights off, they must operate automatically when a door on the bus opens and for at least 10 seconds, but not more than 20 seconds, after all the doors on the bus have closed.

The bus must have a visible or audible signal that tells the driver when the warning lights are operating.

The bus must be fitted with a switch that allows the driver to turn the warning lights off.

A warning light must have:

  • a lit lens area of at least 60 square centimetres – eg: 90mm diameter round lens or 80mm x 80mm square lens
  • the luminous intensity of the warning light is to be substantially brighter (about six times brighter) than the intensity of a typical turn signal or direction indicator.

Exception to the warning lights and signs rule - public transport route service

A driver of a school bus that is part of a regular timetabled route service is not required to display a warning sign. In this case, destination sign requirements for route services will apply.

A driver who is carrying children as part of a regular timetabled route service is not required to operate flashing warning lights when picking up or dropping off children.

More information

For more information get a copy of V78 Warning signs and lights for buses carrying children (230.7 kb)

Last updated: 28 September 2016