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Speeches

Board Meeting, Davis, Oklahoma Median Crossover Collision, Closing Statement, NTSB Conference Center, Washington, DC
Christopher A. Hart
NTSB Conference Center, Washington, DC
11/17/2015

​In closing, I would like to recognize the hard work of the NTSB staff in producing this report, and thank my fellow Board Members for their very thoughtful participation in the process.

This investigation touched on a variety of highway safety issues, and resulted in many new and reiterated recommendations.

This is the third highway crash that the NTSB has investigated this year in which the passengers did not use available restraint systems in commercial vehicles.

Today, to reduce the effects of highway crashes, we have called for primary enforcement of seat-belt laws for every seating position with an available seat belt.

It takes time to enact and implement new laws, but when it comes to using seat belts, passengers don’t have to wait.  They can reap the safety benefits immediately, simply by using available restraints.

When we ride in any vehicle equipped with restraint systems, we can choose to reduce our risks today. In commercial vehicles, we should buckle up, just as most of us normally do, and just as all of us should do, in our own cars.

Similarly, organizations such as colleges and churches that operate passenger vehicles should adopt and enforce best practices to ensure seatbelt use by every vehicle occupant on every trip.

Seat belts save lives in crashes – whether in the family car, a taxi, a limo, or a bus, and no matter who is driving.

More germane to the cause of this crash, we have recommended that the trucking industry begin to apply what is known about driving under the influence of drugs.

Current driver testing is a necessary safeguard. But additional approaches are needed to make progress in the battle against impairment in transportation.

If today’s recommendations are acted on, the commercial trucking industry will take steps toward enhanced methods of preventing DUID, thereby strengthening commercial trucking safety and helping to end substance impairment in transportation.

There are many existing protections intended to prevent tragedies such as the one that occurred in Davis, Oklahoma, on the night of September 26, 2014. 

There are guidelines on the placement of median barriers.

There are policies and laws on seat belt use.

There are protections against impaired drivers on our roads.

But these existing protections were not strong enough to prevent the tragedy in Davis.

Action on today’s recommendations can strengthen present protections and put new protections in place.

We stand adjourned.

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