1. Eliminate distractions.
All drivers, pilots, and operators need to eliminate distractions and stay focused on safely operating their vehicle, aircraft, vessel or train. Pedestrians are equally susceptible to distraction and need to remain aware of their surroundings.
This should be addressed through education, legislation, and enforcement, the NTSB believes.
2. End alcohol and other impairments.
Impairment is a contributing factor in far too many transportation accidents across all modes, with alcohol impairment as a leading cause of highway crashes.
"We want to continue to see states adopt per se BAC limits of 0.05 percent or below, as well as broaden their use of other effective countermeasures, like ignition interlock devices and high-visibility enforcement," the agency stated.
Impairment in transportation is not limited to just alcohol; it also includes impairment by other drugs—legal or illicit.
The agency called for a national drug testing standard for passenger vehicles and stronger screening and toxicology testing in commercial transportation.
3. Ensure safe shipment of hazardous materials.
As infrastructure ages, the risk to the public from pipeline ruptures also grows, and older, more dangerous tank cars continue to carry flammable liquids.
"We are calling on the railroad industry to meet existing federal deadlines for replacing or retrofitting rail tank cars, and on the pipeline industry to conduct adequate risk assessments," the agency wrote on its website. "Failure to meet safety standards by—or ahead of—deadlines places communities near railroads or above pipelines at an unacceptable risk."
4. Implement positive train control.
Positive train control (PTC) can stop a train before acrash happens. Although Congress mandated that PTC be installed and operating by Dec. 31, 2018, only 25% of passenger route miles and just 60 percent of passenger locomotives have met that criteria. A two-year extension has been granted to rail lines that are not fully compliant.
"PTC must be fully implemented before the extended deadline to ensure the safety of railroad passengers and the people who live and work near railroads," the NTSB recommends.
5. Reduce speed-related crashes.
"Proven countermeasures—including automated enforcement technology, vehicle technology, infrastructure design, and education campaigns—must be used more broadly to reduce speeding-related crashes," the NTSB said.
6. Improve Part 135 flight operations.
Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Air medical service, air taxi, charter, and ondemand flights are not required to meet the same safety requirements as commercial airlines, leaving them susceptible to disaster.
"Part 135 operators must implement safety management systems that include a flight data monitoring program, and they should mandate controlled flight-into-terrain-avoidance training that addresses current terrain-avoidance warning system technologies.," the agency recommended.
7. Increase implementation of collision avoidance systems.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury in the U.S., and many of them could be prevented with collision avoidance systems that are already available.
"Vehicle manufacturers should make this technology standard equipment on all vehicles," the NTSB said. "And consumers, informed about the technology’s capabilities and limitations, should buy vehicles equipped with it."
8. Reduce fatigue-related accidents.
"We are calling for a comprehensive approach to combatting fatigue in transportation, focusing on research, education, and training; technology; sleep disorder treatment; hours-of-service regulations; and on- and off-duty scheduling policies and practices," the NTSB announced on its website.
9. Require medical fitness.
Undiagnosed and untreated obstructed sleep apnea continues to be deadly on our roads and rails, causing too many preventable accidents.
The NTSB is advocating for mandatory screening and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea for rail and highway personnel in safety-sensitive positions.
10. Strengthen occupant protection.
Seat belts, child car seats, and child safety restraint systems in highway vehicles and on airplanes reduce the risk of injury and death. Restraints in motor vehicles saved 14,668 lives in 2016 alone, according to the NTSB.
"We want all states to enact laws and regulations requiring all motor vehicle occupants to use seatbelts, and allowing primary enforcement of seat belt laws for all vehicle occupants," the NTSB said. "We also want to see requirements for enhanced vehicle design to provide better occupant protection, and for general aviation aircraft owners to install shoulder harness systems."