Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board released its annual list of most wanted safety improvements for transportation. The 10-item list represents the federal agency’s highest priorities going forward. The Board intends the measures to reduce risks based on past causes of injury.
The wish list items target all modes of transportation, including rail and aviation.
Some of the proposed safety measures include:
- Implementing collision avoidance technology for all highway vehicles as standard issue rather than part of a luxury package
- Reducing distractions by banning the use of personal electronic devices while driving and by educating the public on the dangers of using hand-held devices
- Reducing fatigue-related accidents affecting drivers of both commercial and private vehicles
- Improving occupant protection through more stringent enforcement of seatbelt use and child restraints
- End drug-impaired driving, including by over-the-counter and prescription drug use
- Expand the use of recorders, including on-board video recorders for buses and trucks
NTSB eyes technology solutions
Notably, the agency’s list of proposed solutions relies heavily on technology. For example, the Board encourages the adoption of widespread use of collision avoidance technology that could alert distracted or tired drivers before a crash. It also suggests that in the future, new vehicles will include on-board alcohol detection systems to prevent drunk driving.
In addition, the priorities list takes a more basic, old-fashioned approach: legislation. It calls for stricter laws that would make driving without a seatbelt a primary offense and ban the use of portable electronic devices while driving.
Legal recourse for victims of traffic accidents
The NTSB wish list is valuable because it provides auto manufacturers, lawmakers, and others in the transportation industry with a set of goals specifically targeting driver and passenger safety. The measures are likely to cut down on car and railroad accidents. Unfortunately, there will still be victims of traffic collisions.
The changes going forward will not prevent all injuries. The law, however, does recognize the rights of the injured to be made whole.
Some examples include:
- In an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, the driver may be held liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses suffered by the victim
- In a train accident caused by bad company policy or poor oversight, the company can be made to reimburse the victim and his or her family for their damages
- In an accident caused by a patient who unknowingly received a prescription drug without warning that it could impair driving, the hospital that administered it may be responsible for the damages
In each situation, the victim and his or her family must be able to prove a set of elements of a cause of action.
Generally, this means proving that:
- The person or company at fault either had a legal obligation or duty that was breached, or violated a law meant to protect others, and
- The action proximately caused the injuries or other losses.
If you have been injured in an automobile or other transportation-related accident, take the first steps toward protecting your rights by speaking with a trusted New Jersey personal injury attorney.
Eisbrouch Marsh offer their legal services to residents throughout Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Hudson and Essex Counties. For a free consultation, call 201-561-8366.
- National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB Unveils 2016 Most Wanted List, Stresses Technology, http://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20160113.aspx
- National Transportation Safety Board, 2016 Most Wanted List, http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl/Pages/default.aspx