A 2014 survey of U.S. drivers shows that the issue of impaired driving has changed significantly over recent years. The Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers is conducted periodically by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The survey was first conducted in 1973. Since its inception, the survey has shown a dramatic decrease in the number of drivers with alcohol in their systems. Unfortunately, it has also shown an increase in the number of drivers using marijuana and other illegal drugs, as well as prescription drugs. The survey is voluntary and anonymous.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new campaign focusing on seat belt use. The campaign specifically targets parents and children aged 8 to 14. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adult seat belt use tops the list of ways to reduce injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. Seat belt use is on the rise across the country, though usage varies by state.
In a unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Christopher Hart as the new chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Mr. Hart has been acting chairman of the NTSB since April, when Deborah A.P. Hersman left to become the president and CEO of the National Safety Council. The confirmation allows Christopher Hart to officially begin his two-year term as the thirteenth chairman of the NTSB.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not investigate every motor vehicle crash. There are far too many crashes to review each one. Instead, the NHTSA uses a sampling of crashes to analyze overall trends. More than 20 sites have been designated for this sampling, including Chicago and Los Angeles. Since 1988, the NHTSA has analyzed approximately 4,700 crashes per year, nationwide.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary data concerning 2013 transportation fatalities. According to NTSB figures, 34,678 people were killed across all modes of transportation in 2013. That represents a slight decrease from 2012, during which 35,796 died in transportation accidents. The data groups all deaths from highway accidents, aviation accidents, marine, rail and pipeline transportation accidents. The acting chairman of the NTSB called the total "very troubling" while acknowledging that it represented a slight improvement.