NTSB Issues Top 10 ‘Most Wanted’ List Of Safety Improvements

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced its 2019–2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements during an event held at the National Press Club on February 4. It calls the list, first issued in 1990, its “primary advocacy tool” to educate transportation stakeholders and the public about important safety issues.

The Top Ten goals are:

• eliminate distractions;

• end alcohol and drug impairment in transportation;

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• ensure safe shipment of hazardous materials;

• fully implement positive train control;

• implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce speeding-related crashes;

• improve the safety of Part 135 aircraft flight operations;

• increase implementation of collision avoidance systems in all new highway vehicles;

• reduce fatigue-related accidents;

• require medical fitness—screen for and treat obstructive sleep apnea; and

• strengthen occupant protection.

Each Top Ten item has a lengthy list of recommendations for each transportation mode it applies to. In a document published on December 11 in advance of the release of the Top Ten list, the NTSB provided the list of lengthy non-binding recommendations on steps to be taken to increase safety among all the transportation modes it regulates. (The document, “2019–2020 MWL-Associated Open Safety Recommendations,” is available on the NTSB website.)  It lists recommendations according to responses it has received from stakeholders on various issues, which the NTSB classifies as “acceptable” or “unacceptable.”

Compared to the other transportation modes, the inland waterways come in for scant attention. Only a few of these recommendations are maritime-related.

In the December list, under the heading, “Eliminate Distractions,” the NTBSB advises the Coast Guard to distribute a safety alert to passenger vessel operators urging education on minimizing operator distractions. It also advises the Passenger Vessel Association to include various safety tips in its passenger notices.

Under the heading “Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents,” the NTSB urges the Coast Guard to “address the risks associated with watch stander fatigue by implementing Commandant Instruction 3500.2, Crew Endurance Management, issued on March 30, 2006, in all operational units.”

To learn more about the items on the NTSB’s 2019 – 2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements or the NTSB safety recommendations associated with the list, visit