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Highway Safety Dominates NTSB Annual Most Wanted List

Houston Car Accident Lawyer | NTSB Most Wanted List 2021 Highway Safety

The National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its annual list of “Most Wanted” safety improvements needed to prevent accidents, reduce injuries, and save lives.

While the ten initiatives included on this year’s Most Wanted List cover a range of transportation areas, including air, rail, and pipelines, half are focused on improving highway safety and reducing the number of traffic-related fatalities caused by speed, impaired driving, and other controllable factors.

Reducing Speed-Related Crashes and Protecting Vulnerable Road Users

According to the NTSB, speed-related crashes resulted in nearly 100,000 fatalities between 2009 and 2018, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic deaths that occurred in the United States during that period.

“Speed-limiters on large trucks, automated enforcement, expert speed analysis tools, and education campaigns are underused in our communities,” the Board wrote. “These critical tools and strategies must be implemented to address this safety problem.”

A Safe System approach to protecting pedestrians and other vulnerable road users would address all aspects of traffic safety, including road users, vehicles, speeds, roads, and post-crash care.

“We must make better safety investments, from road treatments, vehicle design, and collision-avoidance systems to strong traffic safety laws and robust education efforts to mitigate injury risks for all road users,” the NTSB wrote.

Combating Impaired Driving and Requiring Collision Avoidance Systems

To combat impaired driving, the NTSB recommended states consider lowering the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) from the current .08% and “to implement laws requiring all drivers convicted of alcohol-impaired driving to use an interlock device, preventing future impaired driving.” The Board also called for the development of better drug-testing procedures and tests.

Although collision mitigation platforms, such as forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems, have been standard on 18-wheelers and other heavy trucks for several years, the NTSB maintains that requiring these systems on all vehicles would help reduce the human errors that often lead to serious and deadly crashes.

Eliminating Distracted Driving

To eliminate distracted driving, the NTSB is once again calling for a ban on the use of all personal electronic devices while driving. Forty-eight states and Washington, D.C., already prohibit drivers from texting behind the wheel and nearly half have hands-free device laws.  But no state completely bans the use of personal electronic devices while driving, despite the issue having made the Board’s previous two Most Wanted Lists.

“Using a device hands-free does not reduce driver distraction. In fact, drivers are still distracted by the conversation – this is called ‘cognitive distraction,'” the NTSB wrote. “Many drivers believe they can multitask and still operate a vehicle safely. But multitasking is a myth. Humans can only focus cognitive attention on one task at a time. That’s why the driving task should be a driver’s sole focus.”

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