Distracted  Driving Recommendations   Transferring Research and Investigations into Law

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Comair Flight 5191, Lexington August 27, 2006. National Transportation Safety Board. Improve transportation safety.Promote our recommendations.. Big Bayou Canot near Mobile, Alabama. Selendang Ayu

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Distracted Driving Recommendations Transferring Research and Investigations into Law

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1. Distracted Driving Recommendations – Transferring Research and Investigations into Law International Symposium on Distracted Driving Possible Solutions: Legislation and Laws October 14, 2008 Good Afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to speak at the Distracted Driving Symposium. The National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress to investigate every civil aviation accident in the United States and to investigate significant accidents in other modes of transportation– railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The NTSB does not mandate or regulate — we investigate. We make recommendations aimed at improving transportation safety. We have issued more than 12,000 recommendations in all transportation modes to more than 2,200 recipients. Although the NTSB does not regulate transportation equipment, personnel or operations, and the NTSB does not initiate enforcement action, the Board’s reputation for impartiality and thoroughness has enabled the NTSB to achieve such success in shaping transportation safety improvements that more than 82 percent of its recommendations have been adopted by those in a position to effect change. Many safety features currently incorporated into airplanes, automobiles, trains, pipelines and marine vessels had their genesis in NTSB recommendations. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to discuss the Board’s recommendations and to provide you with a feel for the difficulties of getting effective legislation enacted. Good Afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to speak at the Distracted Driving Symposium. The National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress to investigate every civil aviation accident in the United States and to investigate significant accidents in other modes of transportation– railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The NTSB does not mandate or regulate — we investigate. We make recommendations aimed at improving transportation safety. We have issued more than 12,000 recommendations in all transportation modes to more than 2,200 recipients. Although the NTSB does not regulate transportation equipment, personnel or operations, and the NTSB does not initiate enforcement action, the Board’s reputation for impartiality and thoroughness has enabled the NTSB to achieve such success in shaping transportation safety improvements that more than 82 percent of its recommendations have been adopted by those in a position to effect change. Many safety features currently incorporated into airplanes, automobiles, trains, pipelines and marine vessels had their genesis in NTSB recommendations. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to discuss the Board’s recommendations and to provide you with a feel for the difficulties of getting effective legislation enacted.

2. Comair Flight 5191, Lexington August 27, 2006 The Board is charged by Congress to investigate transportation accidents, determine their probable cause, make recommendations to prevent their recurrence. You probably know us from aviation investigations.The Board is charged by Congress to investigate transportation accidents, determine their probable cause, make recommendations to prevent their recurrence. You probably know us from aviation investigations.

3. National Transportation Safety Board Improve transportation safety. Promote our recommendations. But we investigate crashes and transportation incidents in all modes of transportation. This is the Silver Spring, MD Amtrak crash/derailment.But we investigate crashes and transportation incidents in all modes of transportation. This is the Silver Spring, MD Amtrak crash/derailment.

4. This looks like another railroad accident. Actually, it’s inter-modal because the crash was caused by a barge tow that was lost in the fog and hit the railroad bridge sufficiently hard to displace the rails, but not so much that the sensors indicated the rails had been displaced. As a result, the Amtrak train derailed into Big Bayou Canot near Mobile, Alabama.This looks like another railroad accident. Actually, it’s inter-modal because the crash was caused by a barge tow that was lost in the fog and hit the railroad bridge sufficiently hard to displace the rails, but not so much that the sensors indicated the rails had been displaced. As a result, the Amtrak train derailed into Big Bayou Canot near Mobile, Alabama.

5. Selendang Ayu – Alaska Coast This is the break up of the Selandang Ayu off the Alaska coast in 2007.This is the break up of the Selandang Ayu off the Alaska coast in 2007.

6. Hurricane Rita Wilmer, Texas Bus Fire September 23, 2005 You remember Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This crash involved the transport of elderly nursing home patients. Among other issues including driver qualification and knowledge, the bus was improperly maintained, a wheel bearing seized and became super hot. It ignited a fire that was at least partially fed by oxygen cylinders. There were a number of additional factors involved in this tragedy.You remember Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This crash involved the transport of elderly nursing home patients. Among other issues including driver qualification and knowledge, the bus was improperly maintained, a wheel bearing seized and became super hot. It ignited a fire that was at least partially fed by oxygen cylinders. There were a number of additional factors involved in this tragedy.

7. We have investigated a number of pipeline leaks and explosions. The one nearest to this area was in Chalk Point, Maryland. No, this isn’t one of our investigators.We have investigated a number of pipeline leaks and explosions. The one nearest to this area was in Chalk Point, Maryland. No, this isn’t one of our investigators.

8. Carrollton, Kentucky May 14, 1988 This crash remains the worst drunk driving crash in American history.This crash remains the worst drunk driving crash in American history.

9. While you know us from our aviation investigations, each year highway fatalities comprise about 90-95 percent of all transportation fatalities and about 40 percent of those are alcohol-related.While you know us from our aviation investigations, each year highway fatalities comprise about 90-95 percent of all transportation fatalities and about 40 percent of those are alcohol-related.

10. Safety Board Recommendations Related to Distracted Driving What you may not know is that we have been concerned about distracted driving for many years. Over 20 years ago, we were investigating distractions such as fatigue in commercial transportation and have made recommendations on dealing with fatigue in all transportation modes. More recently, we’ve investigated accidents involving other kinds of driver distractions. Our investigations indicated that there were three groups of great interest; novice teen drivers, commercial drivers that carry passengers and school bus drivers. The first group is important because of their inexperience and risk-taking. The second and third groups by nature of their business have a “greater burden of care” because they are in commercial operation and carrying passengers.What you may not know is that we have been concerned about distracted driving for many years. Over 20 years ago, we were investigating distractions such as fatigue in commercial transportation and have made recommendations on dealing with fatigue in all transportation modes. More recently, we’ve investigated accidents involving other kinds of driver distractions. Our investigations indicated that there were three groups of great interest; novice teen drivers, commercial drivers that carry passengers and school bus drivers. The first group is important because of their inexperience and risk-taking. The second and third groups by nature of their business have a “greater burden of care” because they are in commercial operation and carrying passengers.

11. To understand the teen distracted driving issue, I would like to start with graduated driver licensing. Our first recommendation to the States was issued in 1993 when only two states, Maryland and California, had partial GDL systems. Now all but 7 States have a three-stage system and most of those actually have a 3-stage GDL system but lack the holding periods or supervised driving recommended by the Board.To understand the teen distracted driving issue, I would like to start with graduated driver licensing. Our first recommendation to the States was issued in 1993 when only two states, Maryland and California, had partial GDL systems. Now all but 7 States have a three-stage system and most of those actually have a 3-stage GDL system but lack the holding periods or supervised driving recommended by the Board.

12. Teen Passenger Distractions After extensive work in the States on GDL and much research on the role of teen passengers in teen driver crashes, it was clear that action was warranted. In 2002, the Board issued a recommendation that States restrict novice drivers from carrying teen passengers during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages.After extensive work in the States on GDL and much research on the role of teen passengers in teen driver crashes, it was clear that action was warranted. In 2002, the Board issued a recommendation that States restrict novice drivers from carrying teen passengers during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages.

13. Teen Passenger Distractions I’ll try to stop this before the language gets out of control.I’ll try to stop this before the language gets out of control.

14. As you can see, much progress has been made since 2002 and we hope that Pennsylvania will change color this fall or certainly in the next legislative session.As you can see, much progress has been made since 2002 and we hope that Pennsylvania will change color this fall or certainly in the next legislative session.

15. Wireless (cell phone) Distraction In 2003, the Safety Board added a recommendation calling for novice drivers to be prohibited from using wireless communications devices while driving. We believe that this restriction should apply to the learner’s permit and to the intermediate license stages. Also, we use the term interactive wireless communications device because it is a more expansive term that covers conversation, text messaging, interactive gaming, and other possible distractions. Using this term in legislation could be legislatively more efficient than, for example, the California bills that separately addressed hand-held phones, novice driver cellular phone use, and, most recently, text messaging.In 2003, the Safety Board added a recommendation calling for novice drivers to be prohibited from using wireless communications devices while driving. We believe that this restriction should apply to the learner’s permit and to the intermediate license stages. Also, we use the term interactive wireless communications device because it is a more expansive term that covers conversation, text messaging, interactive gaming, and other possible distractions. Using this term in legislation could be legislatively more efficient than, for example, the California bills that separately addressed hand-held phones, novice driver cellular phone use, and, most recently, text messaging.

16. Wireless (cell phone) Distraction I’ll try to stop this before the language gets out of control.I’ll try to stop this before the language gets out of control.

17. The interesting thing about this slide is that a number of State actions, particularly the hand-held restrictions preceded the Board’s recommendations. A number of States took action without having a research-based knowledge of the problem. More recently, this has changed a bit. NOTE: this relates to young novice drivers only.The interesting thing about this slide is that a number of State actions, particularly the hand-held restrictions preceded the Board’s recommendations. A number of States took action without having a research-based knowledge of the problem. More recently, this has changed a bit. NOTE: this relates to young novice drivers only.

18. Alexandria, VA Bus Crash – Hands-free Cell Phone Use by Driver Commercial transportation of passengers has been a Safety Board interest for at least twenty years. Crashes involving buses can result in large numbers of fatalities and injuries. Notice the signs in the foreground and the arched bridge in the background. Now if you were the bus driver and knew that you were driving a 12 foot high bus, you would most likely move over to the left lane. Researchers have indicated that cell phone conversations cause cognitive decrements in drivers and perhaps a form of “blindness” because they are unable to process information that they see. I think its kind of like my computer. When I do too much and overload the RAM, it locks up.Commercial transportation of passengers has been a Safety Board interest for at least twenty years. Crashes involving buses can result in large numbers of fatalities and injuries. Notice the signs in the foreground and the arched bridge in the background. Now if you were the bus driver and knew that you were driving a 12 foot high bus, you would most likely move over to the left lane. Researchers have indicated that cell phone conversations cause cognitive decrements in drivers and perhaps a form of “blindness” because they are unable to process information that they see. I think its kind of like my computer. When I do too much and overload the RAM, it locks up.

19. Alexandria, VA Bus Crash – Cell Phone Use by Driver The result of a 12 foot high bus going under a 10 foot high bridge.The result of a 12 foot high bus going under a 10 foot high bridge.

20. Recommendation covers both school bus drivers and commercial bus drivers carrying passengers (CDL holders). States with partial implementation cover school bus drivers. Issued in 2006Recommendation covers both school bus drivers and commercial bus drivers carrying passengers (CDL holders). States with partial implementation cover school bus drivers. Issued in 2006

21. Well I guess based on this cartoon, the word on cell phone use while driving is getting out. Changing behavior is another thing. Recent research seems to prove this cartoon wrong. The in-car conversation is not the same as a cell phone conversation. Also, the extra pair of eyes may have a protective effect. The message here really is that there are some distractions that can be affected by laws or regulations with education and enforcement to effectively implement the law or regulation. So let’s discuss what goes into getting legislation adopted. The following slides are based on the Safety Board’s experience in advocating in States for adoption of the Board’s recommendations. As you will see, the path from research to enactment certainly isn’t short or straight. In most cases, it is a torturous example of Newton’s law that a body at rest tends to stay at rest.Well I guess based on this cartoon, the word on cell phone use while driving is getting out. Changing behavior is another thing. Recent research seems to prove this cartoon wrong. The in-car conversation is not the same as a cell phone conversation. Also, the extra pair of eyes may have a protective effect. The message here really is that there are some distractions that can be affected by laws or regulations with education and enforcement to effectively implement the law or regulation. So let’s discuss what goes into getting legislation adopted. The following slides are based on the Safety Board’s experience in advocating in States for adoption of the Board’s recommendations. As you will see, the path from research to enactment certainly isn’t short or straight. In most cases, it is a torturous example of Newton’s law that a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

22. This is one my division’s tasks at the Board.This is one my division’s tasks at the Board.

24. The Role Of A Legislator Respond to the perceived needs of his or her constituents and district. Get re-elected.

25. The Role Of An Advocate Translate the research data so that a legislator will use the data to form policy. Translate the legislator’s needs so that research can identify useful data. Tell the real world story to legislators, media, and public

26. Perception Is Reality Laws are obeyed and enforced. One countermeasure (or law) will solve the problem.

27. Perception Is Reality Education is what’s needed. People will do the right thing if we educate them. Government shouldn’t tell parents what to do. Government shouldn’t tell me what to do in the “privacy” of my own car. A person has a right to drink a beer or two after a long, hard day at work. He just made a mistake; he’s not a criminal. These statements are either actual statements we’ve heard from legislators or slightly edited statements.These statements are either actual statements we’ve heard from legislators or slightly edited statements.

28. Political Realities Highway safety is not a high political priority. Compare its legislative priority to budget deficits, taxes, education, homeland security, health, and political lightning rod issues Solutions that cost very little or show a larger return than the cost of investment will be better received. These are the facts of life in State legislatures.These are the facts of life in State legislatures.

29. Political Realities All members of the legislature are not equal: Majority v. minority parties Influential Committees (such as Ways & Means, Appropriation, Finance, Rules) Leadership (both committee and legislative body)

31. You never want to read a slide, but the italicized words say a lot.You never want to read a slide, but the italicized words say a lot.

35. All Politics Are (Is) Local Legislators want evidence that the problem exists in their community. The order of preference: local and state studies and statistics, results from neighboring states, national statistics and studies, international statistics and studies. You, the advocate, are the expert on this subject.

36. All Politics Are (Is) Local Keep it local (accidents, people, relationships) Keep it personal (loss, need, concerns) Keep it short (know the arguments, use their limited time effectively). Bring handouts. Put it in writing (email is less universal and less effective – use letter, phone call, or visit). Include a personal story Make your presentation with conviction Do not lose your cool (“blood on your hands”).

37. All Politics Are (Is) Local – Personal Visits & Hearings Dress professionally (Give and get respect) Make testimony relevant and short – 3 minutes Practice testimony before giving it. Coordinate testimony with other advocates. Plant questions with friendly legislators. Listen carefully – answer the question, do not interrupt the legislator. Maintain eye contact.

38. All Politics Are (Is) Local – Personal Visits & Hearings If you don’t know the answer, say so – but also say that you will get the answer and provide it for the record. Follow-up with the answer and provide as soon as possible. Write a thank you letter. Awards for key sponsors

39. A version of Letterman’s top ten. If it looks like the tasks in a campaign plan, then perhaps it is.A version of Letterman’s top ten. If it looks like the tasks in a campaign plan, then perhaps it is.

40. One last comment: it’s really difficult to get good safety legislation enacted. It’s very labor-intensive and frustrating, but can be one of the most rewarding of missions.One last comment: it’s really difficult to get good safety legislation enacted. It’s very labor-intensive and frustrating, but can be one of the most rewarding of missions.

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