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The NTSB’s 2021-2022 Most Wanted List – Part I

Posted on in Car Accident

fort collins car accident lawyerThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the independent federal agency that is responsible for civil transportation accident investigations. According to its website, the agency’s mission is to “. . . save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity. Each spring, the NTSB releases its Most Wanted List (MWL) that focuses on transportation safety improvements needed to prevent accidents, reduce injuries, and save lives. The list addresses transportation safety improvements in aviation, highway, rail, marine, pipeline, and hazardous materials.

In its 2021-2022 Most Wanted List, the agency cites more than 100 safety recommendations for the 10 items on the list. Five of those items concern improvements needed for highway safety, addressing crashes involving speed, distracted driving, driving under the influence, vulnerable road users, and collision-avoidance technologies.

Protect Vulnerable Road Users Through a Safe System Approach

The MWL categorizes motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists as vulnerable road users (VRUs). According to this year’s MWL, there were more than 12,000 vulnerable road users killed in traffic accidents in 2019. While other types of traffic accident fatalities are decreasing, those involving vulnerable road users have increased by as much as 5 percent over the past decade.

One of the main factors cited by the NTSB is that the nation’s roads are designed for motor vehicles and not for VRUs. Another significant factor is that VRUs do not have the same protection as vehicle occupants when there is a crash, often resulting in severe injury and death.

The agency recommends that all municipalities use a Safe System approach that addresses all aspects of traffic safety and should include road treatments, collision-avoidance systems, strong traffic safety laws, vehicle design, and education. These systems need to encompass:

  • Road users

  • Vehicles

  • Speeds

  • Roads

  • Post-crash care

The agency also recommends increased use and requirements of protective equipment, including advanced headlights, motorcycle helmets, and advanced vehicle technologies.

Prevent Alcohol and Other Drug Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs continues to be one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes. In 2019, more than 10,000 victims were killed in vehicle accidents that involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. That comes out to one in four fatal car accidents caused by an impaired driver. In 2018, more than 1,000 children were killed in vehicle accidents that involved an impaired driver.

As the report cites, accidents caused by a drunk or drugged driver are 100 percent preventable. The NTSB’s recommendation to help stop these tragedies is for states to lower the legal BAC from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, citing reasons why the current legal BAC is too high. The recommendations also include that all states require the use of an interlock device for any driver who has been convicted of drunk driving.

Preventing drugged driving crashes has proven to be more difficult since there are currently no standardized drug-testing protocols for law enforcement. The agency urges the development of such procedures and tests and the involvement of lawmakers and regulators to make it happen.

Regulators need to identify best science-based practices, develop a standard of practice for roadside and overall drug testing, and perfect the current in-vehicle alcohol detection technology in development.

Contact a Fort Collins Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Assistance

In next week’s blog post, we will continue to discuss the other three highway safety issues cited in the NTSB’s Most Wanted List.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver, contact Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. to find out what legal options you may have. Call 970-225-2190 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Larimer County car accident lawyers.




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