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NTSB Most Wanted List Highlights Needed Safety Improvements

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.

DC Accident Attorneys

For the year 2016, the NTSB has identified the following most wanted safety improvements:

  • 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.