NTSB targets its 10 Most Wanted public transportation safety improvements
In June 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced its list of the top 10 issues the agency would like to address to improve transportation safety and save lives. This is the 21st such list the agency has produced. The list calls attention to critical issues that result in loss of life and injury in public transit accidents involving trucks, buses, boats and airplanes and general highway safety.
This year’s top 10 are:
Addressing human fatigue: Cognitive and physical impairments from insufficient or poor quality sleep are a critical factor causing or contributing to pilot error, ship captain error and truck or bus driver error.
Stopping alcohol-impaired driving: Drunk driving accidents accounted for one-third of all highway accident deaths in 2009 and thousands more injuries.
Creating safer teen drivers: In the past decade, more than 58,000 young people have died in car crashes. It is the leading cause of death for American teens.
Reducing motorcycle accidents, injuries and deaths: Motorcycle accident deaths doubled from 1997 to 2009. Although they represent only 3 percent of vehicles on the road, motorcycles account for 13 percent of highway deaths, most often due to head injuries.
Encouraging better bus occupant protection: While motor coaches are involved in far fewer highway accidents than other vehicles, when bus accidents do occur, they can be catastrophic. Better passenger protection can reduce fatalities and injuries in accidents.
Instituting systems for safety management and preventive maintenance: While unexpected and unavoidable problems will always occur, safety concerns are often in evidence long before an accident takes a life. Programs can be put in place to monitor operations and to collect data on developing safety problems in aviation, trucking, bus operations and shipping.
Installing data recording devices on vehicles: Many vehicles, and even some aircraft, are not equipped with electronic data recording devices. Recorded information provides the NTSB with an opportunity to identify safety issues before accidents occur.
Improving general aviation safety: While commercial flights are fairly safe, commuter and air taxi operations and cargo transport planes are another matter. Hundreds of people are killed each year in plane crashes.
Increasing professionalism among pilots and air traffic controllers: Incidents of noncompliant behavior, intentional misconduct and failure to perform essential duties demonstrate an erosion of pilot and air traffic controller professionalism that has put public safety at risk and eroded the public’s trust in aviation.
Improving runway safety: Takeoff and landing are the most critical times in any flight. Training, procedures and technology can help aircraft avoid ground collisions and overrunning or undershooting the runway during takeoff or landing.
To learn more about safety initiatives of the National Transportation Safety Board, see the NTSB.gov website.
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