MWL banner graphic.

Advocating for the MWL

​Working with Board Members and agency staff, NTSB’s Safety Advocacy Division team identifies opportunities to raise awareness of the list, amplify conversations among stakeholders, and challenge decision-makers to act upon the improvements highlighted on the MWL and adopt the agency’s related open safety recommendations.

Next, the team identifies specific audiences of interest for each safety item and develops tactics to best communicate safety concerns to those audiences. For example, we’ve hosted roundtables to discuss safety issues with industry and fellow safety advocates. Where legislation is the focus, we draft testimony for agency leadership to share with the Hill and state and local governments. If the message is tailored to the public, we might focus on educating people about the needed safety improvements using our various social and digital media channels and public events.

Since the MWL’s creation in 1990, we’ve highlighted 412 “Most Wanted” transportation safety improvements across all modes that have needed immediate attention, leading to the implementation of numerous related NTSB safety recommendations. Through the attention our MWL brings, and in collaboration with industry, other government agencies, and advocacy groups, we have helped to make transportation safer for the traveling public.

Notable safety improvements we’ve helped achieve include:

Recreational Boating: implementation of alcohol-impaired boating laws, requirements for personal flotation devices, and requirements for boater education.

Impaired Driving: implementation of laws establishing administrative license revocation.

Occupant Protection:

  • Child passenger safety laws requiring booster seat use and requiring that children ride, properly restrained by a child car seat or seat belt, in the back seat.
  • Crashworthiness improvements across all modes, including the adoption of crash-resistant fuel tanks in helicopters.
  • Seat belt laws – requiring that all occupants in all vehicles equipped with safety belts use them.

School bus safety: install three-point seat belts in school buses

Rail tank car integrity: regulations to upgrade shells in DOT-111 tank cars to ensure they don’t puncture and leak

Fatigued flying and driving: implementation of rules related to flight crew fatigue in Part 121 (scheduled airlines) and hours of service requirements for commercial trucking

Weather Airplane Icing: improved certifications standards for airplanes certified for flight in icing conditions.

Positive Train Control: regulations requiring full implementation of PTC of all railroads (and subsequent 100% implementation

Fuel Tank Safety: implementation of our safety recommendations on fuel tank inerting systems and enactment of the FAA final rule related to the topic.

Some of the most pervasive issues highlighted on the MWL have been human performance issues such as impairment, fatigue, and distraction. Changing human behavior and perceptions is a tough challenge, but necessary to improve safety across all the modes.

See lists from previous MWLs—1990 to today.​

We urge lawmakers, industry, advocacy and community organizations, and every American to learn more about what they can do to implement and champion the 2021-2022 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.