By Chairman Christopher A. Hart
Next year, the NTSB will mark its 50th year of working to improve transportation safety, and there is no doubt that over those 50 years, transportation safety has improved. Unfortunately, however, last year marked the worst setback in highway fatalities since the NTSB was formed. From 2014-2015, highway deaths increased by 7.2 percent, the worst single-year percentage increase since 1966. Worse still, it is estimated that these deaths increased by 10.4 percent between the first half of 2015 and the first half of 2016.
This setback is a tragic reminder that safety is not a destination, but a journey, and our efforts to improve safety must never stop. It takes concerted and continuing efforts by industry, government, and private citizens to save lives.
This morning, the NTSB unveiled its Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements for 2017-2018, our roadmap from lessons learned to lives saved in all modes of transportation. In no particular order, this list is as follows:
- Eliminate Distractions
- Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents
- Prevent Loss of Control in Flight in General Aviation
- Improve Rail Transit Safety Oversight
- End Alcohol and Other Drug Impairment in Transportation
- Increase Implementation of Collision Avoidance Technologies
- Expand Recorder Use to Enhance Safety
- Require Medical Fitness
- Strengthen Occupant Protection
- Ensure the Safe Shipment of Hazardous Materials
Actions in these issue areas by government and industry can make transportation safer for all of us. But, as an individual, you do not have to wait for government or industry to act.
In many cases, you can take action now to make your own transportation safer. For example, you can and should commit to driving free of distractions, with enough rest, and without being impaired by alcohol or other drugs. You can also commit to protecting the passengers in your car – by using and requiring them to use the appropriate restraints. If you ride a motorcycle, you can commit to wearing a helmet that protects your face and head. Your own personal responsibility can also help you be safer in an airplane or any other mode of transportation.
Read through these issue areas and consider the actions that you (and your friends and family) can take.
Then join us, and spread the word because any person that you reach could potentially be a life that you save.
For more information on the 2017-2018 NTSB Most Wanted List visit www.ntsb.gov/mostwanted.