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NTSB ADDS TRANSIT RAILCAR SAFETY, MARINE SMS, AIRLINE PILOT PROFICIENCY OVERSIGHT TO FEDERAL MOST WANTED LIST



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                      NTSB PRESS RELEASE

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National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010

SB-10-03

 

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NTSB ADDS TRANSIT RAILCAR SAFETY, MARINE SMS, AIRLINE PILOT

PROFICIENCY OVERSIGHT TO FEDERAL MOST WANTED LIST

 

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board today issued its

2010 Federal Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety

Improvements, adding rail, aviation and marine issues, and

updating the status of other issues on the list.  At the

same time, the Board removed the issue areas dealing with

improved protection for school bus passengers and fatigue in

the pipeline industry.

 

"Every one of the hundreds of currently open safety

recommendations address concerns that the Safety Board has

uncovered in its accident investigations," NTSB Chairman

Deborah A.P. Hersman said.  "But the recommendations on the

Most Wanted list represent those improvements that can have

the widest benefit."

 

Besides removing two issue areas on the list, the Board

reviewed the remaining 13 issue areas on the list and added

two new ones.  Each issue area is color coded by the NTSB to

designate its action/timeliness:  Red for Unacceptable

Response; Yellow for Acceptable Response, Progressing

Slowly; and Green for Acceptable Response, Progressing in a

Timely Manner.

 

The 2010 Most Wanted list follows.

 

RAIL

 

Coming on the heels of several serious transit rail

accidents around the country - notably the June 22, 2009,

collision on Washington, D.C.'s system that killed 9 persons

- the Board added "Improve Transit Railcar Design" to the

list.

 

A railcar's ability to withstand the dynamic forces of an

accident is essential to protecting the vehicle's occupants.

 In accident investigations in recent years, the Board has

noted telescoping of transit cars that have destroyed or

greatly compromised survivable space.  Two recommendations

are added to the list aimed at improving transit railcar

design, and the issue area was given a Yellow designation.

 

 

MARINE

 

The NTSB has long been concerned about the issue of Safety

Management Systems (SMS) on board ships, including

subsystems such as preventive maintenance.  Although the

United States Coast Guard has announced that it intends to

require SMS for vessels carrying more than 399 passengers,

the Board feels this is unacceptable because it does not

cover all U.S.-flagged vessels.  The NTSB believes that the

Coast Guard should require an SMS for all domestic vessels

so that the same level of safety is applied to the domestic

fleet of vessels as is applied to the international fleet. 

This new issue area on the list, "Require Safety Management

Systems for Domestic Vessels" was given a Red designation.

 

AVIATION

 

"Improve Oversight of Pilot Proficiency" - This new issue

area added by the Board contains two 2005 recommendations

calling on the FAA to require airlines to obtain histories

of flight check failures by pilot applicants and to require

special training programs for pilots who have demonstrated

performance deficiencies.  The designation is Red.

 

"Require Image Recorders" - Although cockpit voice recorders

and flight data recorders record sounds and relatively

comprehensive airplane data during an emergency, they do not

show the critical cockpit environment leading up to the

emergency.  The Board has requested image recorders for

large transport category aircraft and for smaller aircraft

that do not otherwise have recording devices.  This issue

was designated Red.

 

"Improve the Safety of Emergency Medical Services Flights" -

The Board has issued a series of recommendations aimed at

improving the safety of this vital service to the public. 

The FAA has announced it will issue a proposed rule that

will address some of these concerns, and the Board has

upgraded the designation for this issue from Red to Yellow.

 

"Improve Runway Safety" - The deadliest accident in aviation

history was a runway collision in 1977.  Runway accidents

and incidents continue to occur, including a fatal regional

jet accident in Kentucky in 2006 and an incident last year

where an airliner landed on a taxiway in Atlanta.  The NTSB

has a series of recommendations aimed at preventing such

occurrences, including requiring moving map displays in the

cockpit, giving immediate warnings to the cockpit of

impending incursions, and requiring landing distance

assessments with an adequate safety margin for every

landing.  The designation remains Red.

 

"Reduce Dangers to Aircraft Flying in Icing Conditions" - An

airliner crash in 1994 prompted the NTSB to examine the

issue of airframe structural icing and conclude that

certification standards have been inadequate.  The NTSB

continues to believe that the FAA has failed to make

adequate progress in this area and has kept the designation

at Red.

 

"Crew Resource Management for Part 135 Carriers" - Federal

regulations require Part 121 and Scheduled Part 135

operators to provide pilots with crew resource management

training.  The NTSB has investigated a number of Part 135

on-demand operators where such training was not provided,

and errors by the crew led to accidents.  The FAA has

proposed to require a form of CRM training for these

carriers, and the Board has upgraded the designation from

Red to Yellow.

 

HIGHWAY

 

"Enhance Protection for School Bus Passengers" - The Board

has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety

Administration devise new standards to protect school bus

passengers from being ejected from their seats or the bus

during frontal, side or rear-impact accidents.  NHTSA has

issued a final rule that increases seatback height, and

established performance specifications for voluntarily

installed seat belts.  As a result, the Safety Board has

closed the two recommendations in this issue area and

removed it from the Most Wanted list.

 

"Enhance Protection for Motorcoach Passengers" - The Board

recommends that motorcoach window emergency exits be

redesigned for easy egress, that standards for bus roofs be

strengthened, and that new standards be devised to protect

motorcoach passengers from being ejected.  The designation

was downgraded from Yellow to Red, due to the lack of

progress on this issue.

 

"Require Electronic Onboard Data Recorders" - This renamed

issue area seeks to improve hours of service monitoring for

commercial drivers.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety

Administration has proposed limited use of EOBRs, and the

Board has therefore kept the designation at Red.

 

"Improve the Safety of Motor Carrier Operations" - The

Board's recommendation is aimed at preventing motor carriers

from operating if they put vehicles with mechanical problems

on the road or unqualified drivers behind the wheel.  Due to

FMCSA's continuing slow progress on this issue, the

designation was downgraded from Yellow to Red.

 

"Prevent Medically Unqualified Drivers from Operating

Commercial Vehicles" - Based on its investigations of

accidents involving drivers with serious medical conditions,

the NTSB has determined that serious flaws exist in the

medical certification process for commercial vehicle

drivers.  Two of the 8 recommendations in this area -

dealing with FMCSA developing a comprehensive medical

oversight program that contains several elements - were

closed by the Board, and the designation was upgraded from

Red to Yellow.

 

"Prevent Collisions by Using Enhanced Vehicle Safety

Technology" - The Safety Board has recommended the use of

adaptive cruise control and collision warning technologies

to improve highway safety.  A Department of Transportation

analysis has shown that 48 percent of accidents could be

prevented by the use of certain collision warning systems. 

The designation on this issue remains Yellow.

 

"Prohibit Cell Phone Use by Motorcoach Drivers" - The Board

believes commercial drivers at the wheels of motorcoaches

and school buses should be prevented from using cell phones.

 With some progress being made by the Department of

Transportation and FMSCA, the designation remains Yellow.

 

INTERMODAL

 

"Reduce Accidents and Incidents Caused by Human Fatigue in

the Marine, Aviation and Pipeline Industries" - The Safety

Board has long been concerned about the effects of fatigue

on persons performing critical functions in all modes of

transportation.  The Board believes that working hour limits

should be based on the latest fatigue research.  For both

the aviation and marine modes, the Board believes the

actions of the FAA and the U.S. Coast Guard are

unacceptable, and maintained designations for both at Red.

 

However, the Board was pleased to report that the Pipeline

and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has published

a final rule establishing new bases for managing fatigue in

the pipeline industry.  The Board called the rule "a

significant step forward for an industry that did not

previously have any rules governing hours of service"  The

Board therefore closed the recommendation Acceptable

Alternate Action and has removed fatigue in the pipeline

industry from the Most Wanted list.

 

An updated brochure describing each Most Wanted issue area

can be accessed at

http://www.ntsb.gov/Recs/brochures/MostWanted_2010.pdf.

 

 

NTSB media contacts on each issue area may be reached as

follows:

 

Phone number (202) 314-6100

 

Keith Holloway (hollowk@xxxxxxxx)

      Improve Emergency Medical Helicopter Flights

      Motor Carrier Operations

 

Peter Knudson (Peter.Knudson@xxxxxxxx)

      Runway Safety

      Medically Unqualified Drivers

      Oversight of Pilot Proficiency

     

Ted Lopatkiewicz (lopatt@xxxxxxxx)

      Cockpit Image Recorders

      Part 135 Crew Resource Management

      Cell Phone Use by Bus Drivers

 

Bridget Serchak (Bridget.Serchak@xxxxxxxx)

      Onboard Electronic Recorders

      Motorcoach Passenger Safety

      Enhanced Vehicle Safety Technology

      Transit Rail Car Safety

 

Terry Williams (williat@xxxxxxxx)

      Aircraft Icing

      Fatigue in Aviation, Marine and Highway

      Marine SMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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