Traffic on highway Truck andautomobile traffic mix on Interstate 5, headed north through Fife,Washington, near the Port of Tacoma. (AP Photo/Ted S.Warren)


Federal safety advocates are targeting three of the worst habitsby drivers that kill more than 10,000 people a year: speeding,impaired driving and distractions from electronic gadgets.


The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board unveiled its“Most Wanted” list of safety enhancements onMonday and three of the 10 focused on driver behaviors that couldhelp reduce the annual death toll on the roadways that now exceed37,000 a year.


Related: Drivers rely too heavily on new vehicle safetytech, AAA research finds


Another four spotlight such things as sleepy drivers, betteranti-collision technology and mandating seat belts on buses andother types of vehicles.


The NTSB is bucking controversy with some of its push. It wantsmore use of speed cameras, for example, which are unpopular withmotorists.

The list

1. Eliminate distractions.

Distractions from electronic devices “is a growing andlife-threatening problem.” Not only do drivers need to pay betterattention; so do pilots, railroad engineers, operators of heavyequipment and pedestrians. Distraction was linked to more than3,100 traffic deaths in 2017, the most recent data.

2. Drug/alcohol impairment.

Alcohol is one of the leading causes of highwaydeaths and NTSB is seeking a reduction in the threshold ofdrunk driving to a blood alcohol level of 0.05% from the current0.08% in most states. Deaths linked to alcohol impairment onhighways alone were almost 11,000 in 2017.

3. Safe shipment of hazardous materials.

Only 16% of U.S. railroad tank cars meet the latest standardsfor carrying crude oil and other hazardous liquids. Aginginfrastructure in the nation's pipelines is also creating anincreased hazard of leaks and explosions.

4. Automated train braking.

The NTSB has for years sought a requirement for all trains to becomputerized to slow or stop for hazards. The government had set2018 as the deadline for so-called Positive Train Control, but it gave railroads atwo-year extension.

5. Charter flight safety.

Charter carriers — such as air-medical operators andfor-hire business jet companies — aren't as tightlyregulated as airlines, “leaving them susceptible to disaster.” Theyshould be required to monitor flight data for safety trends andinstall better warning systems.

6. Reduce speeding.

Proven tools to reduce speeding on U.S. roads must be morewidely deployed to curb the practice, which is a factor in roughly10,000 highway deaths each year. These include traffic cameras,infrastructure design and vehicle technologies.


Related: Red-light-running crash deaths on the riseagain

7. Collision-avoidance systems.

NTSB wants manufacturers to equip all new motor vehicles withtechnology that can brake automatically to help avoid an impendingcrash.

8. Fatigue-related accidents.

A comprehensive approach is needed to combat operator fatigue inaviation, highway, marine and rail transportation.

9. Require medical fitness.

Sleep apnea, a disorder that prevents people from getting normalsleep, has factored into many recent deadly accidents, but peopleoften don't know they have it. There should be mandatory screeningand treatment for all train engineers, bus drivers and other railand highway workers in safety-related positions.

10. Strengthen occupant protections.

The NTSB wants all U.S. states to pass laws requiring everymotor vehicle passenger to wear seat belts, and a crack down onseat belt enforcement. The agency is also calling for betterpassenger protections in vehicle and rail cars designs.

Existing recommendations

The NTSB releases its top safety priorities once every otheryear. This year the agency is focused on already existing safetyrecommendations that it has issued on the related topics. Of the267 recommendations highlighted by the agency Monday, it is askingthat 46 be implemented within the next two years.


Under the administration of President Donald Trump, creating newregulations has become far more difficult. But the NTSB said thatin two-thirds of its recommendations, no new regulations arerequired to obtain a safety benefit.


Related: Traffic deaths down 1.8% in 2017, plus 14additional key NHTSA findings


Copyright 2019 Bloomberg. All rightsreserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,or redistributed.

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