How safe is student travel?
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, April 4, 2007
According to your March 6 article, “Student Travel Safety Tops University Priorities,” Anthony Travel only hires bus companies that meet federal standards, which is merely a minimum needed to operate in interstate travel. All bus lines which travel out of their home state, including the one hired by Bluffton University, must meet the federal standards. The standards adhered to by Executive Coach Luxury Travel, Inc. are exactly the standards specified by Mr. Walsh of Anthony Travel. Clearly, however, safety can be a matter of more than meeting minimum standards. Federal standards do not mandate even the availability of seat belts on touring buses. It is believed that seat belt usage could have saved all the students in the Bluffton University crash and prevented many injuries. It is also quite possible that at least one fatality and a number of injuries in the University of Notre Dame swim team incident in 1992 may have been prevented with the use of seat belts. What Walsh did not address is whether the University of Notre Dame and Anthony Travel go beyond merely the minimum – and weak – federal standards. There is one very simple question which he did not address: When hiring buses, does the University of Notre Dame mandate the availability of seat belts for travel at highway speeds? If after 15 years, Notre Dame is doing nothing more than adhering to the minimum federal standards required by law, then Notre Dame did not learn anything from the swim team accident and does not consider student safety to be the highest priority.