The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced its advocacy priorities, what the federal agency calls it's “Most Wanted List” for 2014. The NTSB said the list is designed "to increase awareness of, and support for, priority areas designed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives."
As in the past, substance-impaired driving is included on the list. The NTSB noted that “since 1995 the percentage of motor vehicle deaths that involve an alcohol-impaired driver has remained stubbornly stuck at about one-third.” In an effort to reduce alcohol- and drug-related crashes, the NTSB has plans to continue to advocate for a combination of “stronger laws, swifter enforcement, and expanded use of technology.”
In Tempe, Phoenix or other communities in Maricopa County, it is important that you consult experienced Arizona driving under the influence (DUI) lawyers like those associated with the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.
The NTSB said that while the Most Wanted List represented advocacy priorities for the federal agency, it is designed to increase awareness of, and support for, what the board believed to be the most critical changes needed in order to reduce transportation accidents and save lives. The list included:
- Eliminate substance-impaired driving;
- Eliminate distraction in transportation;
- Address unique characteristics of helicopter operations;
- Advance passenger vessel safety;
- Enhance pipeline safety;
- Improve fire safety in transportation;
- General aviation: identify and communicate hazardous weather;
- Implement positive train control systems;
- Promote operational safety in rail mass transit; and
- Strengthen occupant protection in transportation.
In May 2013, the NTSB published a report regarding alcohol-impaired driving, which suggested that DUI accounts for approximately one-third of all highway fatalities in the United States. The report also made it clear that while awareness of the dangers of DUI has increased in recent years, it has been the focus of public and private entities that have changed social perceptions concerning DUI and they have also achieved important legislative actions to help reduce it.
In the May 2013 safety report, the NTSB:
- Described the scope of the impaired driving problem;
- Summarized the efforts of advocacy groups, researchers, law enforcement agencies, traffic safety groups, public health organizations, legislators, and motor vehicle agencies, as well as federal, state, and local governments, to reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities;
- Examined the effect of alcohol consumption on an individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle and on the risk of being involved in a crash; and
- Evaluated the effectiveness of current and emerging alcohol-impaired driving countermeasures and identifies new approaches and actions needed to reduce and ultimately eliminate DUI.
The May 2013 safety report addressed the necessity of providing all the following elements to achieve meaningful reductions in DUI crashes:
- stronger laws,
- improved enforcement strategies,
- innovative adjudication programs, and
- accelerated development of new in-vehicle alcohol detection technologies.
The report also recognized the need for states, such as Arizona, to identify specific and measurable goals for the reduction of DUI fatalities and injuries, and to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented countermeasures on an ongoing basis.
The May 2013 safety report made specific recommendations to the states in the following safety issue areas:
- Reducing the per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for all drivers;
- Conducting high-visibility enforcement of DUI laws and incorporating passive alcohol sensing technology into enforcement efforts;
- Expanding the use of in-vehicle devices to prevent operation by an impaired driver;
- Using DUI courts and other programs to reduce recidivism by repeat DUI offenders; and
- Establishing measurable goals for reducing impaired driving and tracking progress toward those goals.
On the federal side, the report recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) support state efforts by seeking authority to award incentive grants to states for establishing per se BAC limits of 0.05 or lower and by establishing best practices for alcohol ignition interlock device (IID) programs and creating incentives to encourage states to adopt the best practices. It also recommends that NHTSA develop and disseminate to states best practices for DUI courts.
As a result of the May 2013 safety report, the NTSB made the following safety recommendations to the NHTSA:
- Seek legislative authority to award incentive grants for states to establish a per se BAC limit of 0.05 or lower for all drivers who are not already required to adhere to lower BAC limits;
- Develop and disseminate to the states best practices for increasing alcohol IID installation and compliance that are based on recent NHTSA research;
- Create incentives for states to adopt the alcohol IID best practices; and
- Develop and disseminate to the states best practices for DUI courts.
Finally, the May 2013 suggested that states like Arizona take the following steps to move toward zero deaths from impaired driving:
- set specific and measurable targets for reducing DUI fatalities and injuries,
- list these targets in your impaired driving prevention plan or highway safety plan, and
- provide a mechanism for regularly assessing the success of implemented countermeasures and determining whether the targets have been met.
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