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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-11-047
Details
Synopsis: On Thursday morning, August 5, 2010, in Gray Summit, Missouri, traffic slowed in the approach to an active work zone on eastbound Interstate 44 (1-44), as motor vehicles merged from the closed left lane to the right lane. A 2007 Volvo truck-tractor with no trailer was traveling eastbound in the right lane and had slowed or stopped behind traffic. About 10: 11 a.m. central daylight time, a 2007 GMC Sierra extended cab pickup truck merged from the left to the right lane and struck the rear of the Volvo tractor. This collision was the first in a series of three. A convoy of two school buses from St. James High School, St. James, Missouri, was traveling eastbound in the right lane of 1-44, approaching the slowed traffic and the collision ahead. Their destination was the Six Flags St. Louis amusement park in Eureka, Missouri. The lead bus was a 71-passenger school bus, occupied by 23 passengers. Following closely behind the lead bus was a 72-passenger school bus, occupied by 31 passengers. Seconds after the lead bus passed a motorcoach that had pulled over and stopped on the shoulder, it struck the rear of the GMC pickup. This collision-the second in the series-pushed the pickup forward, overturning it onto the back of the Volvo tractor. The front of the lead bus was ramped upward, as it came to rest on top of the GMC pickup and the Volvo tractor. Moments later, the following school bus struck the right rear of the lead bus. As a result of this accident sequence, the driver of the GMC pickup and one passenger seated in the rear of the lead school bus were killed. Atotal of35 passengers from both buses, the 2 bus drivers, and the driver of the Volvo tractor received injuries ranging from minor to serious. Eighteen people were uninjured. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the initial Gray Summit collision was distraction, likely due to a text messaging conversation being conducted by the GMC pickup driver, which resulted in his failure to notice and react to a Volvo tractor that had slowed or stopped in response to a queue that had developed in a work zone. The second collision, between the lead school bus and the GMC pickup, was the result of the bus driver's inattention to the forward roadway due to excessive focus on a motorcoach parked on the shoulder of the road. The final collision was due to the driver of the following school bus not maintaining the recommended minimum distance from the lead school bus in the seconds preceding the accident. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the lack of forward collision warning systems on the two school buses. As a result of this investigation, the NTSB urges the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to take action on four previously issued safety recommendations that were intended to prevent accidents and save lives. The two reiterated and reclassified safety recommendations address the placement of video event recorders (VER) in all heavy commercial vehicles and motor carrier review of that information. In addition, the NTSB reiterates two safety recommendations on the medical oversight of interstate commercial drivers.
Recommendation: TO CTIA-THE WIRELESS ASSOCIATION AND THE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATION: Encourage the development of technology features that disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion; these technology features should include the ability to permit emergency use of the device while the vehicle is in motion and have the capability of identifying occupant seating position so as not to interfere with use of the device by passengers.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Await Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Gray Summit, MO, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY10MH018
Accident Reports: Multivehicle Collision, Interstate 44 Eastbound
Report #: HAR-11-03
Accident Date: 8/5/2010
Issue Date: 2/8/2012
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Consumer Electronics Association (Open - Await Response)
CTIA-The Wireless Association (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Consumer Electronics Association
Date: 2/3/2017
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Notice of Proposed Federal Guidelines, “Visual Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Devices” (Phase 2 guidelines), as published at 81 Federal Register 87656, December 5, 2016. The proposed guidelines provide for the use of portable electronic devices while driving by incorporating “pairing” with an existing in-vehicle interface that meets Phase 1 voluntary guidelines. If that is not feasible, NHTSA recommends that portable devices be designed to include a “driver mode” that meets glance time criteria and per se lockouts of distracting activities, as described in the Phase 1 guidelines. NTSB Investigations The April 2012 NTSB response to the Phase 1 guidelines included an overview of our work on distracted driving. Since that time, the NTSB completed the investigation of a bridge collapse near Mount Vernon, Washington, which found that the certified pilot/escort vehicle driver failed to perform required duties and to communicate potential hazards, due in part to distraction caused by cell phone use. Safety Recommendation H-14-13 requested that the states ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices use by pilot/escort vehicle drivers. In the investigation of another collision that occurred in May 2013, the NTSB found that a truck driver failed to ensure that railroad tracks were clear before traversing a highway railroad grade crossing in Rosedale, Maryland, due, in part, to distraction caused by a hands-free cell phone conversation. Safety Recommendation H-14-26 requested that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration modify 49 Code of Federal Regulations 392.82 to prohibit any use of hands-free portable electronic devices by commercial drivers. These recommendations are consistent with our positions from earlier investigations (Safety Recommendations H-11-39 and H-11-47) requesting that the 50 states and the District of Columbia and industry (via CTIA The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association), respectively, prohibit the use of portable electronic devices while driving.

From: NTSB
To: Consumer Electronics Association
Date: 8/2/2012
Response: The NTSB issued this recommendation to further encourage the development of technologies that will reduce the potential for PEDs to distract a driver; we anticipated that this might be achieved by developing features that discourage PED use or that limit a PED’s nondriving- or nonemergency-related functionality while a vehicle is in operation. We did not request that CEA either develop or endorse a policy or a mandate against PED use while driving. The NTSB appreciates receiving the Federal Communications Commission’s Distracted Driving Information Clearinghouse list; we understand that these descriptions were created for informational purposes, not as an endorsement. We would also like to know how you are working with your members, in response to our recommendation, to further develop technologies to manage driver distractions from PEDs. Pending our receipt of this information, Safety Recommendation H-11-47 remains classified OPEN—AWAIT RESPONSE.

From: Consumer Electronics Association
To: NTSB
Date: 5/8/2012
Response: -From Gary Shapiro, President: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association representing the consumer electronics industry. Our 2,200 member companies include the most innovative companies in the United States, such as large and small device manufacturers, service providers and retailers. CEA has a long and storied past relating to the inclusion of technology in automobiles. In 1930, we were the Radio Manufacturers Association (RMA) and we faced calls from state regulators to ban the installation of radios in cars. Describing these radios as “distracting to the driver” since the “act of tuning would take attention from the driver” and the “radio would lull the driver to sleep,” the chairman of the RMA’s legislative committee, Clarence C. Colby, successfully made the case that car radios in fact have several safety benefits. As Mr. Colby and the RMA did in the past, CEA continues to believe that technology in automobiles, whether it be installed in the dashboard or as a portable device should be viewed holistically and both safety and distracting elements considered. Safety is paramount in a moving vehicle and a driver's highest priority must be attention to driving and control of the vehicle at all times. CEA publicly supports state legislation that imposes targeted limits on the use of in-vehicle electronics to ensure driver safety. Naturalistic or “real world” driving studies, like that of the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), have confirmed that manual texting while driving significantly increases the risk of a crash. CEA supports a ban on the use of handheld devices for manual texting while driving. Research has also shown that younger drivers typically do not have the skill set to perform secondary tasks while driving safely. Accordingly, CEA supports initiatives that restrict mobile phone use for novice drivers or drivers operating under a graduated drivers' license (GDL). CEA strongly believes that any policy approaches in this area must be based on well-grounded science rather than on reflexive calls for regulation or outright bans. The naturalistic data referenced above allow policymakers and the public at large to understand the true impact of all distractions in the vehicle and its effects on driver performance. CEA must disagree with the NTSB’s overall recommendation calling for a ban on the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) by all drivers. There is absolutely no real world evidence supporting such a blanket prohibition unless one would also ban fast food, make-up application and engaging with children in the car. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has clear regulatory jurisdiction over components installed in motor vehicles, recently issued draft voluntary guidelines for in-vehicle devices to minimize their potential for distraction. In its filing, NHTSA included the following graphic summarizing the risks associated with performing a variety of secondary tasks while driving both light and heavy vehicles based entirely on naturalistic studies: NHTSA notes that a risk rating of 1.0 has the same risk as average or normal driving and a rating below it indicates a protective or safety-enhancing effect. As observed above, talking and listening on a hands-free phone produces such a positive effect, and talking and listening on a hand-held phone is not far behind. However, text messaging on a cell phone, with a risk rating of 23, increases the risk by 2,220% when compared with average driving. As such and as reflected in CEA’s safe driving principles, a text messaging prohibition is the clear policy solution whereas the NTSB’s recommendation of a blanket ban on all electronics use by a driver is unsupported by the data. It should be noted in NHTSA’s Notice Of Proposed Federal Guidelines, the agency “has opted to pursue nonbinding, voluntary guidelines rather than a mandatory Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) for three principal reasons. First, this is an area in which learning continues, and NHTSA believes that, at this time, continued research is both necessary and important. Second, technology is changing rapidly, and a static rule, put in place at this time, may face unforeseen problems and issues as new technologies are developed and introduced. Third, available data are not sufficient at this time to permit accurate estimation of the benefits and costs of a mandatory rule in this area.” CEA strongly concurs with the second point and believes that policies should be carefully calibrated so as not to inadvertently prohibit new technologies that could benefit drivers. The NTSB’s blanket prohibition, if adopted, would likewise forestall future innovation in the development of technologies that improve driver safety. With regard to the specific recommendation made by the NTSB to CEA and CTIA, the private sector has responded to market demand with innovative products and applications that enhance driver safety. Some of these products and applications do indeed disable some functions of electronics devices for some period of time. For additional information, please see the attached list of products and applications compiled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and displayed on their Distracted Driving Information Clearinghouse website. If drivers so choose to use these products and applications, then they are already available and often times at a low, nominal cost. While many consumers will undoubtedly find these technologies useful, CEA does not support mandating the installation of any of these products or applications into vehicles or personal electronics. Such measures, like the blanket prohibition, will inhibit innovation and will do little to improve safety. CEA wishes to highlight two promising early-stage technological developments. First, automatic collision avoidance systems are developing quickly as are technologies which track driver behavior such as eye movements. Second, self-driving vehicle technology is advancing and is now in the road-test stage. These developments promise to create safer roadways and mitigate the effects of driver distraction. Alongside its safe driving policy principles, CEA strongly believes that the issue of personal responsibility is a critically important but often ignored topic when discussing potential distraction in the automobile. If one were to apply the logic espoused in the NTSB’s blanket prohibition recommendation, it might seem reasonable in the name of safety to demand vehicle manufacturers stop producing cars that are able to drive up to and sometimes beyond 150 miles per hour and instead limit them to only 65 miles per hour, or ask that all vanity mirrors be outlawed, or cars be rendered inoperable if the driver is eating or drinking. CEA most certainly does not advocate any of these positions, but does stand firmly behind common sense. As every student in a drivers’ education class learns, driving is a privilege and the safe operation of a vehicle is the utmost responsibility of the operator. Driving without distraction is a critical component of this responsibility. CEA stands ready to partner with the NTSB and any other organization to support and advocate for safe driving policies that are based on real world data, do not prevent innovation and embrace personal responsibility.

From: NTSB
To: CTIA-The Wireless Association
Date: 2/3/2017
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Notice of Proposed Federal Guidelines, “Visual Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Devices” (Phase 2 guidelines), as published at 81 Federal Register 87656, December 5, 2016. The proposed guidelines provide for the use of portable electronic devices while driving by incorporating “pairing” with an existing in-vehicle interface that meets Phase 1 voluntary guidelines. If that is not feasible, NHTSA recommends that portable devices be designed to include a “driver mode” that meets glance time criteria and per se lockouts of distracting activities, as described in the Phase 1 guidelines. NTSB Investigations The April 2012 NTSB response to the Phase 1 guidelines included an overview of our work on distracted driving. Since that time, the NTSB completed the investigation of a bridge collapse near Mount Vernon, Washington, which found that the certified pilot/escort vehicle driver failed to perform required duties and to communicate potential hazards, due in part to distraction caused by cell phone use. Safety Recommendation H-14-13 requested that the states ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices use by pilot/escort vehicle drivers. In the investigation of another collision that occurred in May 2013, the NTSB found that a truck driver failed to ensure that railroad tracks were clear before traversing a highway railroad grade crossing in Rosedale, Maryland, due, in part, to distraction caused by a hands-free cell phone conversation. Safety Recommendation H-14-26 requested that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration modify 49 Code of Federal Regulations 392.82 to prohibit any use of hands-free portable electronic devices by commercial drivers. These recommendations are consistent with our positions from earlier investigations (Safety Recommendations H-11-39 and H-11-47) requesting that the 50 states and the District of Columbia and industry (via CTIA The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association), respectively, prohibit the use of portable electronic devices while driving.

From: NTSB
To: CTIA-The Wireless Association
Date: 8/1/2012
Response: The NTSB commends the CTIA for your long history of supporting safe driving and promoting awareness of potential driving distractions through media campaigns. We note that the CTIA (1) held a Distracted Driver Workshop in December 2010 at which technological solutions providers presented their products to your members, (2) features products to combat distracted driving at your annual trade show and (3) has created a new category for your “E-Tech” awards: “Automotive, Safe Driving and Transportation.” We encourage you to continue working with your members to promote safe driving technologies. CTIA’s actions satisfy Safety Recommendation H-11-47, which is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION. Thank you for your continued efforts to combat distracted driving.

From: CTIA-The Wireless Association
To: NTSB
Date: 5/30/2012
Response: -From Steve Largent, President/ CEO: I am writing in response to your letter and recommendation that the wireless industry encourage the development of technology features that disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion; these technology features should include the ability to permit emergency use of the device while the vehicle is in motion and have the capability of identifying occupant seating position so as not to interfere with use of the device by passengers. CTIA - The Wireless Association® (CTIA) is pleased to join the NTSB in encouraging safe driving and supporting the development of innovative new technologies. CTIA and its members have long supported safe driving and recognize the importance of drivers being aware of the wide array of potential distractions that can arise when driving. We also believe wireless users must always make safety their number one priority. Wireless devices are important safety tools, but there are appropriate and inappropriate times to use them. While we defer to consumers and what they choose to support on driving legislation, CTIA does support state and local statutes that ban manual texting while driving. The wireless industry also supports restricting a young driver's use of mobile devices because they need to focus on improving their driving skills, similar to many states graduated drivers' restrictions. More than fifteen years ago, CTIA launched our first consumer education program, featuring "Safety - Your Most Important Call" in advertisements and in the product information our members' provide customers. Most recently, CTIA partnered with the National Safety Council to produce award-winning Public Service Announcements highlighting the risks of distracted driving. Here is a brief history of CTIA's support of safe driving education: 1997 - "Safety-Your Most Important Call" ™ campaign with print, outdoor and radio PSAs; 2000 - TV and radio PSAs focused on telling all drivers about the dangers of distracted driving; 2004/2005 - TV PSA with CTIA's President & CEO Steve Largent; 2007 - Developed 10 radio PSAs with 10 different driving scenarios to educate and remind people about responsible driving behavior. Scenarios included: • Teen-focused to tell them to not text and drive • Bad weather as a time to not use your mobile device • (CTIA offered to co-brand the PSAs to the Governors National Highway Safety Association affiliates - Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Tennessee, Nevada, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin accepted the offer); 2009 - TV PSA focused on teens to tell them, "On the Road, Off the Phone" with the National Safety Council and website (http://www.onroadoffphone.org); and 2010 - Produced a national radio PSA with the National Safety Council. CTIA agrees with the NTSB that technology can be a vital component to developing safer drivers and safer roads. The wireless industry has developed innovative solutions that help to decrease distraction and ensure that drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Over the past three years, CTIA has staged a Safe Driving Solutions Pavilion at our premier trade show, International CTIA WIRELESS, featuring technology companies and their novel products and services developed to combat distracted driving. At our most recent trade show International CTIA WIRELESS 2012, the Safe Driving Pavilion showcased the latest technologies and presented a range of safe driving solutions for parents, and enterprise and government users. Exhibitors at this year's Pavilion included Cellcontrol, http://www.cellcontrol.com/ featuring a technology that stops drivers from texting, emailing, web surfing and calling; and iOnRoad Technologies Ltd., http://www.inroad.com/. A wireless application that utilizes a smartphone's camera and sensors to detect vehicles and reduce the problem of distracted driving. To further highlight safe driving technologies, CTIA publicized the most innovative safe driving products at this year's CTIA trade show by creating the new "Automotive, Safe Driving & Transportation" category for its "E-Tech" awards. See: http://www.ctia.org/media/press/body.cfm/prid/2186.This year's winner was iOnRoad. CTIA also hosted a Distracted Driving Workshop in December, 2010, to allow technological solutions providers to present their products and proposals to CTIA member company representatives, and staff from the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and congressional committees with legislative jurisdiction over issues related to highway safety and distracted driving. The providers presented an overview of their product, explained its technological merit, and discussed any legal, technical or financial obstacles impeding its commercial deployment and whether any incentives were needed to bring it to market. Through its ongoing efforts to educate the public about the importance of safe driving, by publicizing the most innovative new technologies at its trade shows, and by facilitating instructive sessions involving multiple key stakeholders, CTIA is proud of its record in this important area. As a not-for-profit industry organization, CTIA does not manufacture wireless products nor do we provide wireless service. However, within the permitted scope of our activities, CTIA is pleased to support the NTSB Recommendation H-11-47 through the kinds of consumer education and industry outreach outlined in this letter. I thank you for reaching out to CTIA and the wireless industry. Based on our industry's record of innovation, I am certain we will continue to develop new technologies that will help make all Americans safer drivers.