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NTSB releases 2016 ‘Most Wanted’ Safety List

Posted: January 15, 2016 by Today's Trucking Staff

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Transportation Safety Board unveiled its 2016 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements Wednesday, calling it a “road map from lessons learned to lives saved.”

Of the 10 issues covered on the list, more than half effect truck drivers directly:

  • Need to Reduce fatigue-related accidents
  • Promote availability of collision avoidance technology in highway vehicles
  • Disconnect from deadly distractions
  • End substance impairment in transportation
  • Require medical fitness for duty
  • Expand use of recorders to enhance transportation safety.

Distraction (especially from portable electronic devices) and fatigue continue to be serious safety issues in all modes of transportation, and the NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List addresses them all. The list also notes that undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions have caused or contributed to accidents and calls for operators and regulators to require medical fitness for duty.

Impairment is also an issue in all modes of transportation. The NTSB has recommended lowering the legal limit on blood alcohol content to .05 to reduce deaths and injuries on highways. However, drugs other than alcohol can also impair drivers and operators of other types of vehicles – whether these drugs are recreational, over-the-counter, or prescription.

Several items on the list demonstrate the importance of technology in saving lives, preventing accidents and lessening the number and severity of injuries from accidents. For example, the list calls for promoting the availability of collision avoidance technology in highway vehicles.

Twenty years ago, the NTSB issued its first recommendation on the use of technology to prevent rear-end collisions. Implementation of this technology could significantly reduce motor vehicle crashes – by far the leading cause of death and injuries in transportation. Although federal regulators have made progress toward including such technologies in the 5-star safety rating on new vehicles, the NTSB advocates including such new technologies as standard equipment on all new highway vehicles – including commercial vehicles — just as airbags and seatbelts are now standard equipment.  

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