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NTSB Advocates Making Collision-Avoidance Technologies Standard Equipment

November 20, 2012

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board on Nov. 14 released its annual “most wanted list,” zeroing in on the agency’s top priorities to foster greater transportation safety nationwide. Among the 10 items on NTSB’s wish list were eliminating substance-impaired driving, eliminating distraction in transportation, and mandating motor vehicle collision-avoidance technologies.

The NTSB urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to establish performance standards for collision-avoidance technologies and mandate that such technologies be included as standard equipment in motor vehicles.

“Their full life-saving and crash-avoidance potential will not be realized until supported by federal rulemaking and related standards,” NTSB said.

These technologies include lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring, and speed-limiting systems, the agency said.

To further the effort to eliminate substance-impaired driving, NTSB recommends a multi-pronged approach. This strategy includes high-visibility enforcement and administrative license revocation, along with greater access to programs that assess and treat substance abuse.

“Technology also holds great promise,” the agency said. “Ignition interlocks and continuous alcohol monitoring devices can prevent an impaired driver from getting behind the wheel. Developing new technology that can quickly and effectively test drivers for drugs is also critical. The key is to establish a comprehensive toolbox and tailor the program to the specific offender’s situation.”

To eliminate driver distraction, NTSB advocates that states and regulators ban “nonessential use” of portable electronic devices in transportation. Moreover, the agency acknowledged the role that company fleet policies play in curbing driver distraction.

“Companies should develop and vigorously enforce policies to eliminate distractions,” NTSB said. “Manufacturers can assist by developing technology that disables the devices when in reach of operators.”

In addition, the agency added, accident investigators at the federal, state and local levels should incorporate in their protocols a system for checking whether the use of portable electronic devices led to accidents.

Here’s a video summarizing NTSB's entire “most wanted list” for the coming year.

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