Rules of Driving in School Zones

Sep 1, 2018 | Crossing Guards, Pedestrian Safety, School Zone Safety, Walking School Bus

With changes to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, as well as the fact that it was a really long time ago that a lot of us motorists took Drivers Education has led to some confusion around drivers responsibilities and the rules of driving in school zones, but the Ottawa Safety Council is here to help!

Crossing Guard Rules

Drivers are not allowed to pass ANYWHERE through a crosswalk if there are pedestrians and/or a Crossing Guard in the crosswalk. A crosswalk is a crossing location usually found at intersections with traffic signals, pedestrian signals or stop signs

Drivers (this includes cyclists) must stop and yield the entire roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard. Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed. A school crossing is defined as any pedestrian crossing where a school crossing guard is present and displaying a school crossing stop sign.

There are four types of pedestrian crossovers in Ontario. You can familiarize yourself with them by visiting the MTO website on pedestrian safety.

Drivers who fail to yield at pedestrian crosswalks, school crossings, and crossovers could face a fine of up $1000 and lose four demerit points.

School Zone Speed Rules:

Often, speed limits on roadways are reduced during the morning and afternoon bell times in school zones.  The school zone speed limit is between 30 to 40km/h. However, it’s still important to drive with care at all times when in school zones. Kids can be present after school hours and on weekends. Slow down and always check for posted signs to reduce your speed and prevent last-minute braking.

Speeding in school zones costs you more than speeding in other places.  Fines are increased if you are caught speeding in a school zone by up to 60%.  Not to mention that it will cost you 3 demerit points if you are caught going 20 km over the speed limit (i.e., 60km in a 40km school zone will cost you $180 and three demerit points).

Always watch out for reduced speeds and signage that indicates you are in school zones.

A 2019 CAA school zone safety poll found that nearly 70% of Canadians have witnessed a distracted driver in a school zone and 64% have witnessed speeding. Help keep our roads safe. Ensure you know the rules of the roads in school zones and always remain vigilant! Children’s lives literally depend on it!

Earn your Road SMARTS

If you would like to get more involved in road safety, we invite you to take the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents can be reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit