October 12, 2011

NTSB issues safety recs

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made safety recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), as well as to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Recommendations to the FHWA and AASHTO included:

• Work to establish warrants and implementation criteria for the selection and installation of Test Level Four and Test Level Five median barriers on the National Highway System; and publish those warrants and criteria in the Roadside Design Guide; identify cross-median crash rates that call for special consideration when selecting median barriers and publish the rates in the Roadside Design Guide; and define the criteria for median barrier selection, including heavy vehicle traffic volume and publish the criteria in the Roadside Design Guide.

•  Provide to state transportation agencies information from current research, such as National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 22-25, Development of Guidance for the Selection, Use, and Maintenance of Cable Barrier Systems, about the safety risks associated with the installation of cable barrier systems that differs from the configuration of the system as designed and tested; information should include the risks associated with the dynamic deflection that may occur when installation distances between cable barrier anchorages differ from the 600-foot test length prescribed  in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware.

• Include, in your product acceptance letters for cable barrier safety devices, cautionary language reflecting current research, such as National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 22-25, Development of Guidance for the Selection, Use, and Maintenance of Cable Barrier Systems, to warn state transportation agencies of the safety risks associated with the installation of cable barrier  systems that differs from the configuration of the system as designed and tested; language should include the risks associated with the dynamic deflection that may occur when installation distances between cable barrier anchorages differ from the 600-foot test length prescribed in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware.

View the complete versions of the recommendations here: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2011/H-11-021-025.pdf  and here: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2011/H-11-031-033.pdf

Recommendations to the Commonwealth of Kentucky included revising its seat belt law so that it applies to all vehicles designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers.

View the complete version here: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2011/H-11-030.pdf

NTSB recommended that the GHSA and the NHTSA work to add a standard definition for "cross-median crash" and a data element for cross-median crash accidents to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria, and inform its members of the circumstances of this accident, emphasizing that most of the van occupants who died in the accident were not restrained by seat belts and that, like Kentucky, other states may have seat belt laws that do not include 15-passenger vans and similar vehicles.

View the complete versions here: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2011/H-11-034-035.pdf and here: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2011/H-11-028.pdf

The NTSB also recommended that the 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of both handheld and hands-free cellular telephones by all commercial driver's license holders while operating a commercial vehicle, except in emergencies.

View the complete version here: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2011/H-11-029.pdf

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