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Captain’s decision to sail into the path of a hurricane caused the tall ship Bounty to sink off Atlantic coast

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Captain’s decision to sail into the path of a hurricane caused the tall ship Bounty to sink off Atlantic coast
Source: National Transportation Safety Board

A captain’s “reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy” was the probable cause of the sinking of a ship off the North Carolina coast in October 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released today. The captain and one crewmember died in the accident. Three other crewmembers were seriously injured.

On the evening of October 25, 2012, a day after a closely watched developing storm had reached hurricane strength, the 108-foot-long tall wooden ship, the Bounty, set sail from New London, Conn., for St. Petersburg, Fla., into the forecasted path of Superstorm Sandy. The 52-year-old vessel, a replica of the original 18th Century British Admiralty ship of the same name, was built for MGM Studios for the 1962 movie, “Mutiny on the Bounty.”

Prior to setting off from New London, some of the crewmembers had expressed their concerns to the captain that sailing into a severe storm could put all of them and the ship at risk. The captain assured the crew that the Bounty could handle the rough seas and that the voyage would be a success. Just a month earlier, in an interview with a Maine TV station, the captain said that the Bounty “chased hurricanes,” and by getting close to the eye of the storm, sailors could use hurricane winds to their advantage.

The 16-page report details how a mostly inexperienced crew – some injured from falls, others seasick and fatigued from the constant thrashing of 30-foot seas – struggled for many hours to keep the ships engines running and bilge pumps operating so the seawater filling the vessel would not overtake it.

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NTSB Releases Top 10 Most Wanted List of Transportation Improvements for 2014

January 16, 2014 Comments off

NTSB Releases Top 10 Most Wanted List of Transportation Improvements for 2014
Source: National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board today released its 2014 Most Wanted List, the top 10 advocacy and awareness priorities for the agency for 2014, which for the first time includes improving operational safety in rail mass transit.

Millions of Americans rely on commuter rail, subways and light rail for their daily commute. The NTSB in just the past year has opened investigations into accidents involving MTA Metro-North Railroad, Chicago Transit Authority and the Bay Area Rapid Transit. And there are still open safety recommendations to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority stemming from its fatal crash in 2009.

In numerous accident investigation reports on mass transit, the Board has repeatedly identified the need for safety improvements, particularly with regard to safety culture and operational practices, in systems providing light, heavy and commuter rail.

+ Most Wanted List

Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving

September 12, 2013 Comments off

Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving (PDF)
Source: National Transportation Safety Board

This safety report represents the culmination of a year-long National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) effort focused on the problem of substance-impaired driving. The report addresses the necessity of providing all the following elements to achieve meaningful reductions in alcohol-impaired driving crashes: stronger laws, improved enforcement strategies, innovative adjudication programs, and accelerated development of new in-vehicle alcohol detection technologies. Moreover, the report recognizes the need for states to identify specific and measurable goals for reducing impaired driving fatal ities and injuries, and to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented countermeasures on an ongoing basis.

Specifically, in the report, the NTSB makes safety recommendations in the following safety issue areas: reducing the per se blood alcohol concentration limit for all drivers; conducting high – visibility enforcement of impaired driving laws and incorporating passive alcohol sensing technology into enforcement efforts; expanding the use of in-vehicle devices to prevent operation by an impaired driver; using driving while intoxicated (DWI) courts and other programs to reduce recidivism by repeat DWI offenders; and establishing measurable goals for reducing impaired driving and tracking progress toward those goals.

New From the GAO

July 24, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. U.S.-Mexico Border: CBP Action Needed to Improve Wait Time Data and Measure Outcomes of Trade Facilitation Efforts. GAO-13-603, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-603
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656141.pdf

2. National Transportation Safety Board: Management and Operational Improvements Found, but Strategy Needed to Utilize Cost Accounting System. GAO-13-611, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-611
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656159.pdf

3. Building Partner Capacity: DOD Is Meeting Most Targets for Colombia’s Regional Helicopter Training Center but Should Track Graduates. GAO-13-674, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-674
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656156.pdf

4. COMPETES Reauthorization Act: Federal Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing. GAO-13-717R, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-717R

Testimony

1. Department of Energy: Observations on DOE’s Management Challenges and Steps Taken to Address Them, by David C. Trimble, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-13-767T, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-767T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656138.pdf

NTSB — Safety Report on Eliminating Impaired Driving

May 15, 2013 Comments off

Safety Report on Eliminating Impaired Driving
Source: National Transportation Safety Board

On May 14, 2013, the 25th anniversary of our nation’s deadliest drunk-driving crash, which killed 24 children and three adults in Carrollton, Ky., the NTSB’s five-member board voted unanimously to issue bold recommendations to help the United States reach zero and eliminate alcohol-impaired driving.

Bold steps are needed: On average, every hour, one person dies in a crash involving a drunk driver and 20 more people are injured, including three with debilitating injuries. That adds up quickly to yearly totals of nearly 10,000 deaths, 27,000 lives forever altered and another 146,000 injured.

The safety report and recommendations culminate a year-long effort by the NTSB to thoroughly examine this problem and develop a set of targeted interventions. The recommendations include:

  • Reduce state BAC limits from 0.08 to 0.05 or lower
  • Increase use of high-visibility enforcement
  • Develop and deploy in-vehicle detection technology
  • Require ignition interlocks for all offenders
  • Improve use of administrative license actions
  • Target and address repeat offenders
  • Reinforce use and effectiveness of DWI courts

No call, no text, no update behind the wheel: NTSB calls for nationwide ban on PEDs while driving

December 14, 2011 Comments off

No call, no text, no update behind the wheel: NTSB calls for nationwide ban on PEDs while drivingSource: National Transportation Safety Board

Following today’s Board meeting on the 2010 multi-vehicle highway accident in Gray Summit, Missouri, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.

The safety recommendation specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.

+ Fact Sheet: Put the Brakes on Distracted Driving (PDF)

NTSB study shows rapid growth of curbside carriers poses challenges for effective safety oversight

November 1, 2011 Comments off

NTSB study shows rapid growth of curbside carriers poses challenges for effective safety oversight
Source: National Transportation Safety Board

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman was joined today by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez to release the results of a six-month study on curbside motorcoach safety initiated following a series of accidents in this rapidly growing industry.

The study – requested by Senator Schumer and Representative Velázquez following the March 12, 2011, bus crash in the Bronx that killed 15 and injured 18 more – highlights key safety issues related to this fast-growing segment of the transportation industry.

This report is the first comprehensive evaluation of the motorcoach industry, with an emphasis on what are commonly known as curbside carriers. Curbside motorcoach operations consist of scheduled trips that begin or end at locations other than traditional bus terminals; most of these operations pick up or discharge passengers at one or more curbside locations. The study analyzed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) data and conducted field work, which included interviews, focus groups, and observations of compliance reviews and inspections.

Key study findings include:

  • In general, motorcoach travel is safe. However, curbside carriers with ten or fewer buses AND carriers who have been in business for ten years or less, have higher accident rates and higher roadside inspection violation rates.
  • The fatal accident rate for curbside carriers from January 2005 to March 2011 was 7 times that of conventional bus operations: 1.4 fatal accidents per 100 vehicles for curbside carriers compared with 0.2 fatal accidents per 100 vehicles for conventional scheduled carriers.
  • The exclusion of buses from routine enroute inspections – especially of curbside carriers that don’t operate from terminals – reduces opportunities to discover safety violations.
  • The FMCSA is overburdened. For example, 878 FMCSA and state personnel are responsible for compliance reviews for more than 765,000 U.S. motor carriers, a ratio of 1.15 investigators per 1,000 motor carriers.
  • Bus driver fatigue, a contributing factor in many accidents, is a continuing safety concern.
  • There is a lack of transparency in ticket sales. More than conventional carriers, curbside operators use online bus brokers. FMCSA has no authority to regulate these brokers.

+ Executive Summary
+ Full Report (PDF)

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