Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board releases a top ten list of safety initiatives in plans to target in the coming year. The NTSB does not have the power to compel changes in the transportation industry, but it has the ability to agitate for changes that could help protect the traveling public. The top ten list for 2017 has been released and contains some interesting items aimed at reducing fatal car accidents.
Highway safety issues
The list contains three items that pertain to motor vehicle accidents. The NTSB plans to focus efforts on the following:
- End alcohol and other drug impairment in transportation
- Reduce fatigue-related accidents
- Increase collision avoidance technologies
While several other items on the list could reduce some accidents, these three target car accidents in a way that could reduce highway fatalities by the thousands.
Drunk driving and drugged driving
Alcohol alone is a factor in roughly one-third of fatal motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people were killed in accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers in 2015. Fatalities involving other drugs are harder to track, but the AAA estimates that 4.6 percent of drivers drove within an hour of using marijuana in the past year. The NTSB has expressed concern that efforts to legalize marijuana around the country will lead to an increase in drugged driving accidents.
A survey conducted by the AAA recently found that 31 percent of drivers have driven while so tired they had to fight to keep their eyes open. Fatigued driving has a similar impact on crash rates as drunk driving. Estimates suggest that drowsy driving accounts for roughly 20 percent of deadly car accidents. Educating the public about the dangers of tired driving could help reduce traffic collisions and save thousands of lives in the process.
Collision avoidance technology
Changing driver behavior is difficult, maybe impossible. Technology may offer the best chance of making American roads safer. Collision avoidance technology has the potential to reduce car accidents, particularly rear-end accidents. The NTSB would like to increase the development and implementation of collision avoidance systems onto a wider range of vehicles.
Most accidents are preventable. If drivers acted responsibly, the vast majority of the more than 30,000 traffic deaths per year could be avoided.
Source: Forbes, “NTSB Says Tens Of Thousands Of Transportation Deaths Are Preventable. Here’s How” 14 November 2016