The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently unveiled its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, with seven of the 10 recommendations including initiatives for roadway safety.
The Most Wanted List identifies the top safety improvements that can be made across all modes of transportation to prevent accidents, minimize injuries, and save lives in the future.
According to NTSB, the Most Wanted List serves as a road map for lawmakers, industry stakeholders, and the public to learn what they can do to help implement and champion critical safety improvements.
The board ranked following seven recommendations for highway safety among its Most Wanted List:
In 2016, more than 3,100 fatal crashes involving distraction occurred on roadways — 9% of all fatal crashes that year. These crashes involved 3,210 distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, because some of them involved more than one distracted driver. The NTSB believes distraction should be addressed through education, legislation, and enforcement.
Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents
Drowsy driving is not always obvious and, as a result, it is widely believed to be underreported on police crash forms. A 2014 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety used a set of more detailed crash investigations and a statistical technique known as multiple imputations to estimate that about 21% of fatal crashes involved a drowsy driver. NTSB is calling for a comprehensive approach to combatting fatigue that focuses on research, education, and training; technology; sleep disorder treatment; hours-of-service regulations; and on and off-duty scheduling policies and practices.
End Alcohol and Other Drug Impairment
The NTSB wants to continue to see states adopt per se BAC limits of 0.05% or below, as well as broaden their use of other effective countermeasures, like ignition interlock devices and high-visibility enforcement. The group is also advocating for a national drug testing standard for passenger vehicles and stronger screening and toxicology testing in commercial transportation.
Increase Implementation of Collision Avoidance Systems
Vehicle manufacturers should make this technology standard equipment on all vehicles, according to NTSB. And consumers, informed about the technology's capabilities and limitations, should buy vehicles equipped with it.
Implement a Strategy to Reduce Speeding-Related Crashes
After reaching a low of 9,283 fatalities in 2014, speeding-related traffic fatalities increased to 9,723 in 2015 and 10,111 in 2016. NTSB proposes that proven countermeasures — including automated enforcement technology, vehicle technology, infrastructure design, and education campaigns — be used more broadly to reduce speeding-related crashes.
Require Medical Fitness for and Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea
According to the Most Wanted report, too many commercial drivers with inadequately treated OSA operate on our roadways due to a lack of strong federal regulations addressing screening, diagnosing, and ensuring adequate OSA treatment; inadequate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidance for certified medical examiners; and weak company policies and procedures regarding driver health. The NTSB wants to see mandatory screening and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea for drivers and all highway personnel in safety-sensitive positions.
Strengthen Occupant Protection
Seatbelts in motor vehicles saved 14,668 lives in 2016 alone. The NTSB wants all states to enact laws and regulations requiring all motor vehicle occupants to use seatbelts, and allowing primary enforcement of seat belt laws for all vehicle occupants. They also want to see requirements for enhanced vehicle design to provide better occupant protection.
Find the complete Most Wanted List here.