The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued the newest version of its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, focusing attention on the need to ensure the safe shipment of hazardous materials, reduce fatigue-related accidents and expand the use of flight data recorders.
The 2017–2018 Most Wanted List, announced Monday, spells out the need for action in those areas and seven others, many of which involve aviation and also include other forms of transportation.
The list, first issued in 1990, “has been our roadmap from lessons learned to lives saved,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart. “It represents actions which, if taken, will save lives and reduce the number of people injured, and amount of property damaged in transportation accidents.”
The only item on the list directed solely at aviation was the call to prevent loss of control–in flight (LOC-I) in general aviation. LOC-I causes nearly half of all general aviation accidents, the NTSB said, urging increased pilot training — especially on eliminating distraction, avoiding stalls and managing weather issues — and “a better awareness of the technologies that can help prevent these tragedies.”
In its discussion of the issues, the NTSB said warned that expanded use of lithium batteries presents a threat to safe operation of aircraft.
“We must ensure hazardous materials are moved safely to avoid deadly accidents and environmental damage,” the NTSB said. “It is also critical to renew focus on proper emergency response training and notification, as well as adequate resource allocation to ensure first responders are prepared to handle hazardous materials in the event of an accident.”
The NTSB also said that regulators must “mandate recorder use and operators must proactively install the technology so valuable data can be used to improve safety,” and held out hope that fatigue-related accidents can be prevented if pilots and other operators receive adequate rest.
Other aviation-related items on the list included:
- Ending alcohol and other drug impairment in transportation;
- Requiring medical fitness of operators, maintenance personnel and others;
- Eliminating distractions; and,
- Strengthening occupant protection.