Some "wanted" lists don't include mugshots.
The National Transportation Safety Board today released an index of its 10 "most wanted" safety improvements -- upgrades that would save lives and give regulators the most "bang for your buck," according to Chairman Chris Hart.
This year's list included suggestions that cut across a swath of transportation modes -- from highways to high-speed rail.
Collision Avoidance Technology
Forward collision and lane departure warnings can help guard against human mistakes, but they often come with a hefty price tag.
“Seat belts are standard equipment rather than a luxury option -- the same should be true for crash avoidance technology,” Hart said.
Of course, some of these new technologies are also creating more opportunities for distraction,” he acknowledged.
That brings us to our next point:
In 2014, more than 3,000 people died in crashes where the driver is believed to have been distracted.
Though most states prohibit texting while driving, no state prohibits hands-free cellphone use. The NTSB recommends banning even hands-free talk and text, which pose a “cognitive distraction” -- to professional and civilian drivers alike.
Positive Train Control/Rail Safety
The NTSB has for decades been advocating for some form of positive train control -- technology that experts say could have prevented that deadly Amtrak derailment in May in Philadelphia. But despite a 2008 congressional mandate to install PTC by 2015, railroads are lagging behind.
“Every day that PTC is not in place, we run the risk of another Amtrak crash in Philly,” said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt. “Such tragedies should be a thing of the past.”
The agency also wants to phase out 111 tank cars, non-pressurized cars often used to transport flammable liquids.
General Aviation Stalls
Unlike commercial aviation, general aviation has been “stubbornly resistant to improvement,” Hart said. The NTSB hopes to reduce inadvertent spins and stalls.
After the news broke that the driver of a Walmart truck the slammed into a limo carrying comedian Tracy Morgan had been awake for 28 hours, concern about fatigued drivers reached fever-pitch.
Almost half of U.S. drivers have admitted to nodding off while driving, according to a AAA study.
Other issues on the "most wanted" list include addressing drunk- and drug-impaired driving, requiring medical fitness for duty for paid drivers, improving rail transit safety oversight, strengthening occupant protections (such as seat belts and safer travel compartments), and expanding the use of "black box" data recorders.