NSTB Highlights Traffic Safety Risks, Offers Solutions
Having a wish list is not just for individuals; companies, organizations, and even federal officials gather annually to organize their wish lists. Recently, a group of federal safety advocates released their list, and among the top 20 items listed are several issues relating to traffic safety, more specifically, traffic safety issues that need to be addressed if we are to begin reducing the number of fatal auto accidents on our nation’s roads.
What’s on NTSB’s “Most Wanted” list?
Established in 1926, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was originally organized to investigate aircraft accidents. Since 1967, the mission has changed a bit for the NTSB. Today, it not only investigates airline crashes but safety matters as they pertain to highways, maritime traffic, as well as railroads, pipelines, and other transportation issues. Earlier this month, NTSB unveiled what it calls its list of 20 “Most Wanted” safety enhancements for the future, and among the listing, were items that target traffic safety.
Some of the recommendations by the NTSB deals directly with mandating safety features, such as requiring seat belts on buses and further developing anti-collision technology, while other items listed target human behavior that has made traveling on our roads extremely dangerous. When it comes to driving, the NTSB specifically zeroed in on people driving:
In 2017, more than 33,000 people were killed in car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Also, 630 of those fatalities occurred right here in Colorado. According to data highlighted in the NTSB report, a majority of traffic deaths are directly linked to three behaviors: speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving. When it comes to numbers, NHTSA notes:
- In 2017, nearly 10,000 people died in crashes related to speeding, which equates to 26 percent of fatal crashes.
- On average, impaired driving kills one person every 48 minutes, equating to more than 10,000 lives annually.
- When it comes to distracted driving, 3,450 were killed, and 391,000 more were injured.
With these staggering numbers, you can see why the NTSB wants to focus on these issues moving forward, and hopefully devise a more stringent plan on how to reduce these fatalities.
Education, legislation, and enforcement can reduce auto accident fatalities.
When it comes to combating what officials see as the top reasons for fatal auto accidents, NTSB researchers believe more education, legislation, and law enforcement are key to reducing the number of traffic deaths. Younger drivers need more education on the dangers of distracted driving.
When it comes to impaired driving, the NTSB is pushing to lower the legal limit of alcohol consumption before a driver is considered impaired. For most states, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent, but in 2017, Utah became the first state to lower the BAC to .05; anything over is considered driving under the influence.
When it comes to speeding, the NTSB wants to see a holistic approach to countering this deadly behavior including the expansion of automated law enforcement, such as traffic cameras, education campaigns, and internal vehicle technology that ensures a vehicle is moving at a safe speed depending on the road conditions and legal speed limits. As the NTSB highlighted in its report:
“The Most Wanted List is our road map from lessons learned and lives saved. We urge lawmakers, industry, and every American to learn more about what they can do to implement and champion these critical safety improvements.”