Distractions in Transportation: Roundtable of Experts and Advocates from all Transportation Modes Gather to Discuss Solutions

By Robert L. Sumwalt

Member Sumwalt speaking to panelists at the distraction roundtableToday begins distracted driving awareness month. To help kick off the month, yesterday, the NTSB hosted a multimodal roundtable called “Disconnect from Deadly Distractions.”

To view the round table session in its entirety, see the webcast.

Distractions come in all forms, ranging from rowdy kids in the back seat to using electronic devices to stay connected. We acknowledge the different forms of distraction, but decided to keep the roundtable focused on electronic distractions. And, while distracted driving awareness month deals primarily with driving distractions, we expanded the scope of the roundtable to include all modes of transportation. After all, the goal of the NTSB is to ensure safe transportation for all travelers, regardless of how they travel.

I was thrilled to facilitate the discussions. The real stars of the roundtable were the participants—a diverse group of about 40 safety experts, regulators, scientists, researchers, advocates, engineers, insurance representatives, industry, law enforcement, and victims of families. They came from the ranks of aviation, highway, marine, rail, and transit. They all shared their viewpoints about how best to disconnect from deadly distractions.

The specific objectives were to 1) raise awareness for the need to disconnect from deadly distractions by having a conversation that focuses on the multimodal aspects of distraction, 2) promote cultural change, 3) discuss how the various technologies can increase the potential for distractions, and 4) find solutions to reduce distraction.

Each week this month, I will blog about some element of deadly distractions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Meanwhile, I encourage you to disconnect from deadly distractions.

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