Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board releases a list of the top 10 safety issues it wants to emphasize in the coming year. The list for 2015 was released this week and contains several issues that impact drivers on a regular basis. The "Most Wanted" list includes two entries that contribute to thousands of traffic deaths each year. The first and most pressing is the problem of substance-impaired driving. The second is the issue of commercial trucking safety.
Alcohol and drugs play a part in more than 10,000 car and truck accidents each year. The NTSB is looking at ways to end impaired driving. It is calling for "stronger laws, swifter enforcement and expanded use of technology to end substance impairment." Drunk driving is a behavior that people expect to get away with in the U.S. Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates that a driver has generally driven drunk more than 80 times before they are first arrested. It is among the groups pushing for in-vehicle technology designed to ensure that a driver is sober before taking to the roads.
Commercial trucking is home to one of the few areas in transportation that is not getting safer. Deaths caused large truck accidents have risen for four consecutive years. They are up 17 percent from 2009. The NTSB is asking that truck safety regulators "improve their oversight of operators, drivers and vehicles." A related NTSB point of emphasis calls for transportation professionals, be they drivers, pilots or operators, be medically fit for duty. That involves medical treatment for some and a change in duties for others.
The safety concerns highlighted by the NTSB represent an excellent starting point for a reduction in the number of deaths suffered by drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Source: CBS News, "NTSB releases 2015 "Most Wanted" safety list," by Stephen Smith, 13 January 2015