The National Transportation Safety Board 10 Most Wanted Safety Improvements covers travel by road, rail and air. The list offers areas where all types of transportation can be made safer through, training, awareness and technological improvements. Over the following months, the NTSB will work with safety groups, industry leaders, regulators and individuals to make safety improvements that will reduce car accidents, aviation accidents, bus accidents and train accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board published its conclusions regarding a single-engine airplane crash that occurred in Naperville in October 2010. The report concluded that the aviation accident was caused by the pilot's "failure to abort the takeoff when he realized the airplane was not attaining sufficient takeoff and climb performance." Shortly after the flight began, the plane crashed into a fitness club. The pilot and his wife were seriously injured in the accident, but the patrons and employees inside the fitness club were unharmed.
The National Transportation Safety Board recently released the testimony of the pilots involved in two separate near mid-air collisions out of O'Hare earlier this year. The pilots referred to the potential collisions as "near misses" and testified that the air traffic controllers involved did not issue warnings until after the pilots identified the danger and took evasive action. No injuries resulted from the incidents in question and the Federal Aviation Administration has not levied any discipline against the air traffic controllers involved.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended the installation of anti-ground collision aids on large airplanes. Three ground collision accidents involving large planes hitting other aircraft during taxiing are currently under investigation by the NTSB. The recommendations, which were made to the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency, involved on-board external-mounted cameras which would allow pilots to see the wingtips of the plane while taxiing. Currently, pilots of larger planes would have to open a window in the cockpit and extend their heads outside the plane to view the wingtips.
Federal rules dictate how close together aircraft are allowed to fly. An incident involving three aircraft around Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. has prompted an FAA investigation, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Early reports indicated that the planes were on a head-to-head course, but Mr. LaHood and FAA administrator Michael Huerta indicated that while "there was a loss of separation" among the aircraft, they were never on a collision course.
Last week, a Megabus crashed into a bridge support, injuring at least 33 and killing one. Yesterday afternoon, a second Megabus accident claimed the life of a 76-year-old West Loop resident. These accidents shine a spotlight on recent efforts to improve bus safety for occupants and for everyone who shares the road with buses.
On December 8, we blogged about a tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of four passengers and the pilot who were on route to the Hoover Dam. The National Transportation Safety Board has now opened the public docket concerning this tragic aviation accident. While the docket does not contain the NTSB analysis of the crash, it does contain numerous photographs and documents that shed further light on the events surrounding the deadly incident.
The National Transportation Safety Board made recommendations this week based on its findings concerning aviation accidents. The recommendations are directed toward the group with the highest rate of aviation accidents and fatalities in the flying community-the pilots of small, homemade aircraft. These pilots suffer an accident rate that is twice the general aviation average, and suffer three times as many fatalities as other flyers. The data concerning homemade aircraft prompted the NTSB to make recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the Experimental Aircraft Association. The goal is to improve safety while maintaining the benefits enjoyed by the flying enthusiast.
While many states have adopted bans on texting while driving, the acceptance for a total ban on portable electronic device use while driving has not caught on to the same level. The National Transportation Safety Board called for such a ban last December in response to mounting evidence that cell phones are a growing cause of serious car and truck accidents. The Vice Chairman of the NTSB is testifying on that recommendation for the New York State Senate Committee on Transportation today as part of the effort to gain the support of lawmakers across the nation.
Two investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board were concluded last week with very similar results. The deadly aviation crashes both involved medical helicopters which were returning home after delivering patients. The NTSB was already aware of an increase in medical helicopter crashes. The safety organization had identified a number of factors that contributed to this increase. These two accidents demonstrated that the concerns have not yet been properly addressed.