FORT PIERCE, Fla. — St. Lucie Public Schools recently took delivery of 24 new school buses equipped with three-point belts.
The Fort Pierce-based district now has a total of 74 buses with the lap-shoulder restraints for passengers.
“We will continue to order new buses with the safest technology available,” said Don Carter, the district’s director of transportation.
In 2012, one of St. Lucie Public Schools’ lap-belt-equipped buses was involved in a fatal crash. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated that crash, along with one in Chesterfield, New Jersey, and found that while lap belts can provide a benefit to most school bus passengers who wear them properly, the addition of shoulder belts would reduce flailing injuries and provide greater protection.
After the Port St. Lucie crash, the School Board of St. Lucie County decided to upgrade from lap belts (which are required by Florida law) to lap-shoulder belts. Carter said that NTSB’s findings in the crash investigation convinced him that three-point restraints enhance student safety and were a worthy investment. The school board agreed.
With 306 route buses, St. Lucie Public Schools transports 23,000 students daily. The district is ranked No. 59 in School Bus Fleet's Top 100 School District Fleets list for 2017, which appears in the October issue of the magazine.