By: Allan M. Siegel
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal agency
charged with investigating all mass transit accidents that have occurred
in the United States, as well as significant accidents occurring in other
modes of transportation, including highway, railway, pipeline, and marine.
The goal of the Board is to prevent future accidents by identifying how
and why these accidents occurred and what can be improved to ensure they
do not happen again. The NTSB Most Wanted list identifies some of the
most critical changes that are needed to reduce transportation accidents,
promote recommended safety solutions, and save lives.
For the year 2016, the NTSB has identified the following most wanted safety
Reducing fatigue-related accidents. Human fatigue is a major contributor to the likelihood of an accident.
Combatting fatigue will require a greater focus on things like hours of
service regulations, on-and-off duty scheduling practices and policies,
and research into treatment for sleep disorders. This alone would reduce
a significant number of
tractor-trailer, bus and other commercial vehicle crashes.
Improving rail transit safety oversight. Railways need constant monitoring and oversight in order to catch and
correct potential problems early.
Promoting availability of collision avoidance technologies in highway vehicles. Highway crashes injure and kill thousands of drivers each year. Crash
avoidance technologies should be standard equipment on all new vehicles
to help prevent crashes or minimize their impact.
Strengthening occupant protection. Needed improvements to occupant protection systems include increased
use of existing restraint systems and better design and implementation
to preserve survivable space and ensure easy evacuation.
Disconnecting from deadly distractions. A cultural change is needed to shift focus away from
distractions behind the wheel. Strict rules must be put in place to discourage operators from splitting
their attention while their vehicles are in motion.
Preventing loss of control in flight in general aviation. While aviation accidents are rare in the U.S., pilots and passengers
still die at alarming rates. Accidents can be reduced through technologies,
flight currency, education, self-assessment, and heightened situation
awareness while in the cockpit.
Promoting the completion of rail safety initiatives. Positive Train Control is proven to be a life-changing technology that
can prevent derailments and collisions. Further delays on implementing
these improvements must be avoided.
Ending substance impairment in transportation. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a growing cause of
accidents. Better and larger quantities of data are needed to fully understand
the scope of the problem and the effectiveness of countermeasures.
Requiring medical fitness for duty. The NTSB has recommended comprehensive medical certification systems
to ensure that safety-critical transportation personnel are fit for duty
before operating a vehicle.
Expanding use of recorders to enhance transportation safety. In order to prevent future accidents, transportation investigators must
have a clear picture of what caused an accident. Recorders are invaluable
for this purpose, but many vehicles, planes, and other methods of transportation
are still not equipped with them.
For more information on the NTSB Most Wanted List for 2016, please
click here. If you have been involved in a car, truck, rail or other mass transit
accident in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, the personal injury
lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. are available
to help you learn more about your rights.
Contact us today to speak with an attorney.