Trucking issues part of NTSB’s 10 most wanted safety improvements

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Part of NTSB’s brochure about it’s Most Wanted safety improvements for 2016.

Several trucking-related issues were included on the National Transportation Safety Board’s annual Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements, announced Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Among the list of 10 items presented by NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. were several of particular concern to truck drivers. They included:

  • Reduce fatigue-related accidents
  • Promote availability of collision avoidance technologies in highway vehicles
  • Disconnect from deadly distractions
  • Require medical fitness for duty
  • End substance impairment in transportation
  • Enhance use of recorders to enhance transportation safety

In his comments about reducing fatigue-related accidents, Hart cited as an example the June 2014 crash of a Walmart truck with a limousine that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another passenger. Hart said that while truck driver Kevin Roper was operating within hours-of-service regulations, he had been awake for 28 hours before the accident occurred.

Hart also mentioned the need to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving, and in particular the use of cell phones by drivers. He suggested that even hands-free use of phones should be outlawed.

“A driver’s mind must be on the driving, just as their hands must be on the wheel,” said Hart.

In his call for the greater use of onboard event recorders (so called “black boxes”), Hart said they should be used on all forms of transportation and include outward and operator-facing cameras.

The rest of the list included:

  • Promote completion of rail safety initiatives
  • Improve rail transit safety oversight
  • Strengthen occupant protection
  • Prevent loss of control in flight in general aviation

See the video of Hart’s remarks and the Q and A with reporters afterwards: