NTSB's Chief Fed Up with Highway Carnage

It’s finally time to get about reducing the carnage on U.S. highways, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker said in a passionate speech Nov. 19 at the 15th World Congress on ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) in New York City. ITS is a federal program to promote wireless and wire line systems for intelligent infrastructure systems, intelligent vehicles, intelligent vehicle systems. Rosenker focused his remarks on intelligent vehicle systems.

“Personally, I’m concerned, baffled, and shocked because there seems to be little outrage about the tens of thousands of people who die in roadway crashes. Beyond the human costs, there are also very significant economic costs related to traffic accidents,” he said. “The data indicates that there are about 2 million police-reported crashes, each year. Every day, 19,000 crashes occur on American highways. These crashes incur an enormous cost: $230 billion a year — that’s nearly $800 apiece for each and every one of us. I believe it is time for us as a nation to stop accepting the costs of traffic accidents and instead put that money into making cars that can avoid potential accidents. At the National Transportation Safety Board, it is our firm belief that advanced technology is a major ingredient in reducing accidents, saving lives, preventing injuries and lessening the immense emotional and monetary toll of these accidents. And that is why I am excited about being here to talk to you today; because I believe that the people sitting here in this room have the power to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.”
Rosenker then discussed the technologies NTSB has recommended, including positive train control, lane departure warning systems, trucks with adaptive cruise control and collision warning systems, and forward collision warning for cars and trucks.

The board is “pleased,” he said, that “NHTSA has announced it will add both collision warning systems and lane departure systems to their NCAp [New Car Assessment Program] Rating.”

He concluded by saying, “I am encouraged by the rapid proliferation of new safety technologies over recent years and I would like to encourage both government and industry to work together to find innovative ways to get new technologies into the public faster and at lower costs.”

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