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12/16/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

First time since Ford Administration: NTSB's open safety recommendations drop to three digits


For the first time since 1975, the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) "open" safety recommendations have dropped below 1,000 to 989.

The open recommendations — issued by NTSB following transportation accident and incident investigations — pertain to 335 aviation, 339 highway, 125 marine, 113 rail, 47 pipeline and 30 intermodal cases.

"Since becoming chairman in March, one of my priorities has been cleaning up our record, and that includes addressing languishing safety recommendations," said NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners in a prepared statement. "We must continue to work with our partners in safety to complete the safety chain and implement our recommendations to save lives."

To minimize open recommendations, NTSB relies on a "Safety with a Team" or SWAT approach under which board members meet frequently with U.S. Department of Transportation officials and industry leaders to address NTSB's safety suggestions.

Since its 1967 inception, the board has issued more than 12,100 safety recommendations and recorded an implementation rate of about 82 percent. During a recent six-month period, NTSB closed 78 recommendations, including one adopted by Union Pacific Railroad and Canadian National Railway Co. to provide and promote fatigue awareness training following fatigue-related train accidents occurring in Kansas in 1997 and Michigan in 2001.


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