NTSB Press Release
National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
NTSB HIGHLIGHTS 'MOST WANTED' TRANSPORTATION SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS
May 11, 1999
Washington DC - The National Transportation Safety Board has targeted
10 issues as its priorities for improving transportation safety within
the United States.
"I believe that every single one of our recommendations is important
and when implemented will improve safety." Chairman Jim Hall said. "But
some recommendations have greater potential to save lives. Those are the
ones we've turned the spotlight on by putting them on our Most Wanted List."
Ten safety improvements comprise the Board's Most Wanted list, which
was updated at a public meeting today. Revisions made to the list include:
- The category title of "Youth Highway Crashes" has been amended to "Child/
Youth Safety In Transportation" and will consolidate all child/youth-related
recommendations. Four new recommendations addressing child restraint fitting
stations and one recommendation addressing restraints for infants and small
children on passenger aircraft were added.
- Seven recommendations were added to the "Automatic Information Recording
Device" category. Two recommendations urge the installation of automatic/tamperproof
recorders in heavy trucks; five are related to aviation issues including
the number of parameters recorded and an independent power source for cockpit
voice recorder and flight data recorder units.
- Other issue areas which have new safety recommendations added include
Human Fatigue, Excavation Damage Prevention to Underground Facilities,
Airframe and Structural Icing, and Recreational Boating Safety.
Issues highlighted on the Most Wanted list are as follows:
- Automatic information recording devices. Require adequate recording
devices on all types of vehicles, such as flight data recorders on aircraft
and voyage event recorders on ships. Modern recording devices do much more
than help solve accidents. They are valuable tools in spotting safety trends
and preventing accidents.
- Positive train separation. Mandate the installation of automated
systems to stop trains when crewmembers make signal or speed mistakes,
or are incapacitated. Federal Railroad Administration data show that more
than 1,000 train accidents could have been prevented by positive train
- Human fatigue in transportation operations. Translate the latest
human fatigue research into new, meaningful time and duty-hour regulations
and educational materials for workers in all modes of transportation. Government
and industry have already spent $30 million on human fatigue research.
- Airport runway incursions. Move forward with current and new
programs aimed at preventing accidents involving aircraft while they are
on the ground at airports. This is vitally important because the number
and rate of runway incursions has shown an alarming four-year increase.
- Child/Youth safety in transportation. Toughen and enforce minimum
drinking and driving laws and enact laws mandating a provisional license
system and nighttime restrictions for young novice drivers. Educate the
public about transporting children in the back seat, provide help buckling
child restraints in cars through fitting stations and require restraints
for infants and small children on airplanes. Design the back seats of cars
- Excavation damage prevention to underground facilities. Urge
the federal government to increase its role in excavation damage prevention
programs and review of state programs to improve them. Outside damage is
the leading cause of pipeline ruptures.
- Recreational boating safety. Require states to implement a series
of boating safety improvements, educational programs and regulations for
recreational boats, including personal watercraft. More than 800 people
were killed in recreational boating accidents in 1997 and more than 700
the year before. The quick growth of personal watercraft has been accompanied
by an increase in accidents and deaths.
- Highway vehicle occupant protection. Require a series of safety
improvements to air bags and strengthen seat belt laws.
- Airframe structural icing. Revise federal aircraft icing regulations
based on up-to-date research on icing weather conditions. Conduct research
with the goal of developing new on-board systems to detect and protect
aircraft against freezing drizzle.
- Explosive mixtures in fuel tanks on transport category aircraft.
Require design and operational modifications to reduce the potential for
explosive fuel-air mixtures in fuel tanks of large aircraft.
Also discussed at the meeting was the Board's frustration with long
standing recommendations including those to amend hours-of-service regulations
made to the Department of Transportation 10 years ago.
For more information, visit the NTSB web site at www.ntsb.gov.
NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.