NTSB "Most Wanted List" of safety improvements for 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board is the federal agency charged with the task of investigating major accidents that occur within the various forms of transportation in the U.S. The NTSB analyzes vast amounts of data regarding causes of accidents, and every year it uses that data to compile a list of critical safety concerns that regulatory agencies should focus on in the coming year. The NTSB's Most Wanted List for 2013 targets several issues that impact road safety such as distracted driving, impaired driving and collision avoidance technology.

Distracted driving

Like many other state and federal agencies, the NTSB cited distracted driving as a major transportation safety issue on its Most Wanted List. The NTSB noted that over the past 10 years the use of portable electronic devices has been a factor in an increasing number of transit accidents, leading to more injuries and fatalities.

The NTSB recommended state lawmakers and federal transit agencies ban drivers' use of all portable electronic devices that do not directly support operating the vehicle. The NTSB has even advocated banning hands-free cellphone devices, arguing that the distraction of having a phone conversation while driving can also lead to accidents. The NTSB suggested that employers develop policies forbidding the use of electronic devices while driving and enforce them strictly. Additionally, the NTSB encouraged manufacturers to develop technology that disables such devices while people are driving.

Impaired driving

Another threat to safety the NTSB focused on in its list was impaired driving. The NTSB noted that there are many reasons that people abuse alcohol and drugs, so eliminating impaired driving requires a comprehensive plan. In addition to practices that generally deter the public from driving while impaired, such as jail time, fines, drivers' license revocation and high-visibility enforcement campaigns, the NTSB recommended developing assessment plans for recidivists and offering substance abuse treatment when appropriate.

The NTSB noted the positive impact that ignition interlock devices have had on reducing drunk driving, and the agency argued that it is critical to develop similar technology to test for drugs in a driver's system.

Collision avoidance technology

The NTSB also urged federal regulators to mandate collision avoidance technology in all motor vehicles manufactured going forward. Sudden changes in driving conditions can challenge even the most skilled drivers' abilities to maintain control of their vehicles. The NTSB noted that technology such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, forward collision warning and electronic stability control can help drivers increase their reaction times when road conditions change unexpectedly.

Additionally, technology specifically aimed at large commercial vehicles such as tire pressure monitoring, onboard monitoring and speed limiting devices can help prevent accidents involving commercial vehicles - which are particularly devastating for those in smaller vehicles.

Talk to an attorney

While the NTSB hopes its suggestions will make roads safer in the future, auto accidents are still a major problem. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, speak with a seasoned car accident lawyer with a proven record of success in dealing with such cases.