Federal safety advocates have unveiled the three worst habits by drivers in the U.S., according to a Bloomberg article.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said those three habits are speeding, impaired driving and distractions caused by electronics, which kill more than 10,000 people a year. The NTSB releases its top safety priorities once every other year, according to a Bloomberg article.
The complete list includes 10 areas of improvement across transportation that the board wants to focus on.
- Eliminate Distractions
- Distractions from electronic devices “is a growing and life-threatening problem.” Not only do drivers need to pay better attention, so do pilots, railroad engineers, operators of heavy equipment and pedestrians. Distraction was linked to more than 3,100 traffic deaths in 2017, the most recent data.
- Drug/Alcohol Impairment
- Alcohol is one of the leading causes of highway deaths, and NTSB is seeking a reduction in the threshold of drunk driving to a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent from the current 0.08 percent in most states. Deaths linked to alcohol impairment on highways alone were almost 11,000 in 2017.
- Safe Shipment of Hazardous Materials
- Only 16 percent of U.S. railroad tank cars meet the latest standards for carrying crude oil and other hazardous liquids. Aging infrastructure in the nation’s pipelines is also creating an increased hazard of leaks and explosions.
- Automated Train Braking
- The NTSB has for years sought a requirement for all trains to be computerized to slow or stop for hazards. The government had set 2018 as the deadline for so-called Positive Train Control, but it gave railroads a two-year extension.
- Charter Flight Safety
- Charter carriers – such as air-medical operators and for-hire business jet companies – aren’t as tightly regulated as airlines, “leaving them susceptible to disaster.” They should be required to monitor flight data for safety trends and install better warning systems.
- Reduce Speeding
- Proven tools to reduce speeding on U.S. roads must be more widely deployed to curb the practice, which is a factor in roughly 10,000 highway deaths each year. These include traffic cameras, infrastructure design and vehicle technologies.
- Collision-Avoidance Systems
- NTSB wants manufacturers to equip all new motor vehicles with technology that can brake automatically to help avoid an impending crash.
- Fatigue-Related Accidents
- A comprehensive approach is needed to combat operator fatigue in aviation, highway, marine and rail transportation.
- Require Medical Fitness
- Sleep apnea, a disorder that prevents people from getting normal sleep, has factored into many recent deadly accidents, but people often don’t know they have it. There should be mandatory screening and treatment for all train engineers, bus drivers and other rail and highway workers in safety-related positions.
- Strengthen Occupant Protections
- The NTSB wants all U.S. states to pass laws requiring every motor vehicle passenger to wear seat belts, and a crackdown on seat belt enforcement. The agency is also calling for better passenger protections in vehicle and rail cars designs.
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