NTSB’s “Most Wanted List” of Transport Safety Improvements

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its Most Wanted List of 2017-2018. The list is the Board’s yearly recommendations of what goals should be a priority for those who promote transport safety. This new video outlines the whole list.

The NTSB’s bailiwick covers all forms of transportation, so some of the recommendations involve air and rail travel. Here are the ones that are most pertinent to those who follow road safety in particular:

Using Collision Avoidance Technology. This is a rapidly-developing area of transport safety, and a vital one, since human error is responsible for most collisions. There are many such systems in operation already, and others in development. These include pre-collision systems that sense an impending crash and automatically activate brakes and adjust seats, windows, seat belts and other equipment to lessen the impact. There are also lane departure warning systems and pedestrian detection systems which are already saving lives.

Reducing fatigue-related accidents. Fatigue is as dangerous as alcohol, and driver fatigue causes many deaths each year. Getting adequate rest is the answer, but it’s never that simple. Often economic and other pressures are the reason that drivers are on the road without enough rest. These pressures need to be understood and dealt with if the hazard of driver fatigue is to be reduced.

Ending End Alcohol and Other Drug Impairment. Few goals in transportation have been pursued so long, and have so long remained out of reach. A third of the nation’s 30,000 road deaths are alcohol-related. That 28 states now require ignition interlocks (car breathalyzers) for all drunk driving offenders is proof that much of the country is taking this goal seriously. But there is much to be done, both in the legislative arena and in the field of public awareness.

Eliminatng distractions. Drivers need to concentrate on what they’re doing, or else they are as dangerous as drunks, and the state of our efforts against driver distraction are nowhere near as organized or persistent as those against impaired driving. Laws and technology need to keep up with the vast array of distractions out there.

Strengthening occupant protections. The NTSB supports improvements in vehicle design, which have already saved countless lives since the days of the rolling death traps of decades ago. child in carThere also needs to be more encouragement to use seat belts – the figures on how many people are killed or injured because they don’t take advantage of this simple safety feature is shocking.

The NTSB has no enforcement authority – it can only make recommendations. It’s only authority comes from the impartiality of its judgements and the depth of its research and knowledge. These are among the Most Wanted improvements because they will, in the judgement of NTSB, save the most lives if they are put into place.

Their word is good enough for us.