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NTSB’s Most Wanted List: Better roads and fewer distractions and impaired drivers

Written by Steve Gursten Posted March 29th, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board releases list highlighting the most desirable safety improvements in American transportation

NTSB Most Wanted List

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released a “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements.

The NTSB is a federal agency responsible for investigating all significant accidents across several means of transportation. The  Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable carefully monitor recommendations from the agency, as it investigates crashes involving commercial vehicles, including buses and commercial trucks.

The agency is charged by Congress with determining the cause of accidents, the safety issues involved, and recommending future action to prevent these accidents in the future.  The NTSB then carries out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinates the resources of the Federal Government and other organizations to assist people affected by transportation disasters – namely victims and their families.

The NTSB’s Most Wanted Safety list included several improvements aimed at making the highways safer for everyone:

Eliminate distracting driving

The agency placed eliminating distractions as one of the most wanted safety changes.  The agency noted that the death toll from distracted drivers is highest on the highways.  Distracted truck drivers, and distracted drivers more generally, are very dangerous to everybody on the roads and frequently cause accidents.

Better infrastructure

Another critical, yet easy to overlook, safety that the NTSB emphasized was the need for improved infrastructure.  The agency noted that in the United States, the transportation infrastructure includes 600,000 bridges, and nearly 4 million miles of public roads. Infrastructure requires regular maintenance and when necessary, repair or replacement. The agency pointed out that states or local governments control most roadways.

However, highways serve as part of an integrated national network.  The recommendation then expressed that it is imperative that the Federal Highway Administration ensure that bridge inspector training is comprehensive and consistent across the country.

The List included a call for the development of innovative new technologies to avoid crashes entirely.  As examples, the agency cited developing and commercializing lane departure warning devices, forward collision warning devices, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and electronic stability control, as cutting edge technologies that all demonstrated proven safety benefits.

Stopping impaired driving

The last call for highway related safety was the call to end impaired driving.  This is a huge problem on the roads.  The frustrating thing is this is also an entirely preventable driving hazard.  In this day in age, it is truly baffling that people continue to drive impaired.  This has been a problem among some truck drivers as well, like this truck driver who was caught with illegal drugs and alcohol in the cab of his truck.

In its recommendation, the NTSB pointed out that more than 300,000 people have died at the hands of impaired drivers.  Impaired driving accounts for 10,000 senseless deaths per year, and the NTSB has taken a clear stance, calling for “much more” to be done to address these tragic, and entirely preventable crashes.

Tomorrow, we will be writing about how the NTSB called for more bus safety in its most wanted list.

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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