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January 16, 2014 1:00 PM, EST

Distracted Driving Remains Top Issue for NTSB

TT File Photo

The National Transportation Safety Board said Jan. 16 distracted driving remains a top concern for the agency in 2014, and it will continue advocacy efforts to eliminate distraction in transportation. 

The agency said it is seeing a growth in the number of accidents due to distracted drivers, often with deadly consequences, and is advocating for stronger enforcement, education and laws.

NTSB’s commitment to eliminating distraction is on its “Top 10 Most Wanted” list of transportation improvements for 2014, which also includes reducing substance-impaired driving. 

“We appreciate NTSB’s persistence in addressing critical safety issues, especially those that affect the trucking industry’s workplace, our highways,” American Trucking Association President Bill Graves said in a statement.

“ATA has long been a proponent of reducing the risks of distracted driving, eliminating drunken or drugged driving by all motorists and improving the crashworthiness of vehicles. It makes good sense for NTSB to shine a light on these important issues,” Graves said.

For the first time, this year’s list includes increasing the use of occupant-protection systems and improving safety in helicopter operations. 

“The traveling public relies on a safe and efficient transportation system. Yet, every year, we see over 35,000 fatalities,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in a statement. “That’s why we have the Most Wanted List: Steps we can take today, so that more people make it home tonight.”

NTSB’s list also includes passenger-vessel safety, fire safety, communicating hazardous weather to general aviation, pipeline safety and positive train control, which works by monitoring trains and slowing or stopping a train operating irregularly.