Focus on Safety: The NTSB’s Most Wanted List 2016

Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) releases what it calls its “Most Wanted List.”  This list represents the NTSB’s top advocacy priorities for the year, improvements to safety that the NTSB believes can make the biggest difference in preventing transportation accidents and saving lives.  Our San Francisco injury law firm shares the NTSB’s commitment to transportation safety and, while we advocate for injury victims in California every day, we know that prevention is always the best goal.

The following items are on the NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List:

  • Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents: It is impossible to know exactly how many car accidents are due to drowsy driving, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes anywhere from 2% to 20% of yearly traffic fatalities are due to drowsy drivers.  The problem also extends to other areas of the transportation field and the NTSB identified fatigue as a probable cause in 20% of the Board’s 182 major investigations between 2001 and 2012.
  • Improve Rail Transit Safety Oversight: The NTSB calls for monitoring and improving our nation’s rail systems to improve safety.  Recent agency investigations have found concerning problems in rail oversight, including the ability to take corrective actions when a problem is spotted.
  • Promote Collision Avoidance Technology in Highway Vehicles: Highway crashes are largely preventable.  New technologies can minimize risk and the NTSB wants to see these improvements become standard equipment on new vehicles.
  • Strengthen Occupant Protection: Improvements to restraints and other occupant protection systems can prevent injuries and save lives.
  • Disconnect from Deadly Distractions: The NTSB is pushing for a large-scale cultural shift to encourage operators and drivers to disconnect from distractions.  This issue touches all major modes of transportation.
  • Prevent Loss of Control in General Aviation: In 47% of fatal fixed-wing general aviation accidents that occurred in the U.S. from 2008 through 2014, pilots lost control during flight.  The NTSB wants to tackle this issue through education as well as technological improvements.
  • Promote the Completion of Rail Safety Initiatives: Although laws/regulations require the use of Positive Train Control and improved tank design, the industry has been slow to make the changes.  The NTSB wants to see an end to these delays.
  • End Substance Impairment in Transportation: From alcohol to medications, substance use is a major safety threat.  Alcohol-impairment alone factored into a third of highway deaths in the past 15 years.  The NTSB wants to continue to conduct research to understand the issue and evaluate the efficacy of countermeasures.
  • Require Medical Fitness for Duty: Medical certification requirements for safety-critical personnel vary widely, but untreated or undiagnosed conditions can endanger lives.  The agency hopes to establish comprehensive medical certifications to ensure professionals (e.g., bus drivers, pilots) are medically fit for duty.
  • Expand the Use of Recorders: Investigating past accidents helps the NTSB prevent future accidents and “[n]o single tool has helped determine what went wrong more than recorders.”  This goal calls for the broader use of recorders in aircraft, ferries, trains, buses, and other transit industries.

Safety is a top priority here at the Brod Law Firm.  We are committed to helping educate the public about safe transportation and we support the NTSB’s efforts to make all forms of travel safer.  We are also here for you when an individual or company’s bad decision leaves you injured or claims a life.  Call our firm – we have injury law offices in Santa Rosa, Oakland, and San Francisco – for more information.

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The Deadly Cost of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Other Drugs