National Transportation Safety Board

From Summer 1995
Volume II, Number 2

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is often associated with the investigation of major crashes involving airplanes or trains. However, the NTSB also plays an important role in traffic safety and is an excellent resource for state and local traffic safety and injury prevention professionals. NTSB staff investigate traffic incidents or problems that it believes have national implications; issue reports and recommendations based on these investigations; and work with states, community groups, and others to promote passage of safety legislation consistent with their recommendations.

Some NTSB investigations are of a single critical incident (such as the investigations of a collision involving a charter bus in New Jersey, a train that hit a gasoline truck in Florida, and the collapse of a bridge in Alabama after one of its supports had been hit by a tractor-trailer truck). Others are broader. A 1985 NTSB study of child safety seats and the subsequent recommendations have contributed to the progress made in child safety seat legislation over the past 10 years. NTSB has conducted similar epidemiological studies (and issued recommendations) in other areas, including truck collisions, school bus safety, safety restraints, roadway work zones, repeat DUI offenders, and, most recently, young drivers. NTSB's current list of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements includes recommendations for the immediate suspension of the driver's license of anyone failing or refusing a chemical test for alcohol; strengthening laws concerning the sale of alcohol to those under age 21, zero blood-alcohol content, and licensing; as well as improving enforcement, licensing, and education programs for those under age 21, and heavy commercial truck and school bus safety.

The NTSB maintains a database of its reports and recommendations and provides these materials to agencies and other groups who advocate for traffic safety legislation. NTSB experts also testify before state and federal legislative hearings, inform governors of the policy implications of their research, and work with state and federal agencies and private organizations to promote the passage of traffic safety legislation.

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Revised: October 25, 1996

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