Is It Required to Honk Before Backing Up?

Curious if you know if it is required by law for a school bus to honk when backing up.

Reason I ask is the local school bus has chosen in front of my house as the drop and pickup point for 2 kids that live 1/2 a mile up the road. Not an issue, except every morning at 7 she lays on the horn and wakes me up. After 10 yrs of this I asked her nicely if she could refrain from the horn in the mornings. As I expected,she said no can do, its the law.

The bus also has a backup alarm, and its the middle of nowhere with very little, if not any traffic. Other thing I find interesting, is she backs up through an intersection to turn around.

Not a big deal, just thought you might know what the actual Law is.

Answer

I know of two sections of the Motor Vehicle Act that deals with backing:

Caution in backing vehicle

193 The driver of a vehicle must not cause the vehicle to move backwards into an intersection or over a crosswalk, and must not in any event or at any place cause a vehicle to move backwards unless the movement can be made in safety.

No mention of using a horn there.

Duty of driver

181 Despite sections 178, 179 and 180, a driver of a vehicle must

(b) give warning by sounding the horn of the vehicle when necessary, and...

178 was repealed, 179 outlines the duties between drivers and pedestrians and 180 is when pedestrians not in a crosswalk need to yield to drivers.

So, it's down to when necessary, which depends on the driver.

The amount of use could be reasonable or unnecessary too. In fact, if there is a functioning backup alarm, I suppose that for most circumstances the use of the horn is unnecessary.

Your second situation is dealt with by section 193 as well. She cannot legally back into an intersection.

You've done the neighbourly thing by asking politely, next stop would probably be the school board office.

Noteworthy noise.

I think that oftentimes, drivers will get confused between the legal requirements and the practical application - particularly what's expected on a Driving Test and in 'real life' thereafter.

The fact is, an Applicant for a professional license will have read the Driving Commercial Vehicles guide, which advises them to honk before reversing and then again for every vehicle length travelled while reversing.

That same standard will be applied during their Practical Test, with demerit points being applied by the Driver Examiner if this procedure isn't followed.

Very sensible - the horn is the one device that provides a 360 degree warning to those nearby.

Not required though if the vehicle has a backup beeper/alarm (though there are circumstances when a double tap on the regular horn can help, even with a beeper, as some folks seem not to even notice these things).

Still pretty dumb - and illegal - to reverse into, through, or out of an intersection or crosswalk.

 

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