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Most Wanted 2012: The NTSB's New Safety Recommendations, Part 1

The National Transportation Safety Board recently released the most recent update of its annual "Most Wanted" list. Covering all forms of transportation in Florida and throughout the United States, the list presents the agency's top ten recommendations for safety improvements. This is the first of two posts that will look at the NTSB's biggest concerns going into 2013.

One of these recommendations involves distracted drivers. Although most Florida drivers are no doubt aware of the risks of phone-related distractions, inattention behind the wheel still causes far too many accidents every year. Many states already ban texting while driving but the NTSB's recommendation goes one step farther. The agency thinks authorities should prohibit all "nonessential" use of phones and other devices.

The NTSB suggests two improvements for cutting back on distracted driving. First, manufacturers like Apple and Samsung could look at different approaches for disabling devices to prevent drivers from using them. This approach seems unlikely to gain much traction. A second recommendation, however, aims at commercial drivers. Companies should take a more aggressive stance towards anti-distracted driving policies. This would include more enforcement when employees break the rules.

A second "most wanted" improvement also involves commercial vehicles. 2012 saw a number of tragic bus accidents, most notably involving the budget operator Megabus. The NTSB now recommends that commercial bus operators make more of an effort to verify whether their drivers are up to the job. Many bus accidents involved drivers who were unqualified, medically vulnerable, or dangerously fatigued - all of these risk factors pose an enormous danger to passengers.

Check back later this week for more on the NTSB's "most wanted" list.

Source: Washington Post, "NTSB lists most-wanted transportation safety improvements," Nov. 14, 2012

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