Occupational Health & Safety

NTSB Chair Stresses 3 Es of Traffic Safety

In a recent speech, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Mark V. Rosenker emphasized the three Es of traffic safety: education, enforcement, and engineering solutions, and the need for advanced vehicle technology to cut traffic deaths. In the United States, we have seen a decrease in accidents, he said. "This reduction can be attributed to the use of seat belts and child restraint systems; the development of airbags, antilock brakes, crash-absorbing vehicle frames and campaigns to reduce drunk driving," Rosenker said. "However, in the last few years, this decrease has leveled."

During a speech before the Association for Safe International Road Travel, Rosenker noted that since the inception of NTSB more than 40 years ago, the agency has issued more than 2,100 highway safety recommendations. More than 1,800 of them have been acted upon--most of those led to safety improvements, such as improved protection for gas tanks on school buses, and the redesign of air bags.

To further reduce highway fatalities, NTSB has recommended that all 50 states and U.S. territories have laws requiring booster seats for young children up to age 8, enact primary seat belt laws, enact graduated driver licensing legislation for teens which restrict the number of teens traveling with young novice drivers, and prohibit the use of wireless communications devices by novice drivers, among other provisions.

NTSB also has recommended a wide range of actions for hard core drinking drivers. They include: frequent sobriety checkpoints; stricter sanctions for those arrested for the first time with a high blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher; zero blood alcohol requirement for convicted driving-while-intoxicated offenders when they get their licenses back; and vehicle sanctions, such as ignition interlocks for those drivers.

Rosenker turned to the NTSB support for intelligent highway design. "In 2001, NTSB conducted a special investigation of technology to prevent rear-end collisions and asked the government to complete rulemaking on performance standards for adopted cruise control and collision warning systems," he said. Recently, NTSB added enhanced vehicle safety technology to its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements to increase awareness of safety steps that can help prevent accidents and save lives.

"We must use the technology at our command to prevent even more crashes from happening," Rosenker said. "We need to encourage the continued development and implementation of lane departure avoidance systems and curve-speed warning systems to target the most fatal types of events--runoff the road accidents." You can view the full text of Rosenker's speech at www.ntsb.gov/speeches/rosenker/mvr080514.html.

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