The National Transportation Safety Board unveiled its 2016 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements this month, calling it a “road map from lessons learned to lives saved.” The list focuses on 10 broad safety improvements on which the NTSB has made recommendations that have not yet been implemented.
Several items on the list demonstrate the importance of technology in saving lives, preventing accidents and lessening the number and severity of injuries from accidents. For example, the list calls for promoting both the availability of collision avoidance technology in highway vehicles, and the completion of rail safety initiatives to prevent accidents. The list also calls for strengthening occupant protection in all modes of transportation, including laws mandating primary enforcement of seatbelt use, and age-appropriate child restraints.
Twenty years ago, the NTSB issued its first recommendation on the use of technology to prevent rear-end collisions. Implementation of this technology could significantly reduce motor vehicle crashes – by far the leading cause of death and injuries in transportation. Although federal regulators have made progress toward including such technologies in the five-star safety rating on new vehicles, the NTSB advocates, including such new technologies as standard equipment on all new highway vehicles – including commercial vehicles – just as airbags and seatbelts are now standard equipment.