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NTSB: Two recommendations implemented to address work zone safety issues

The NTSB recommendations followed fatalities in work zone crashes in 2014 and 2016

As National Work Zone Awareness Week begins, the National Transportation Safety Board announced two safety recommendations have been implemented as a result of prior work zone crashes that caused fatalities.

The first fatal accident involved a tractor-trailer that crashed into vehicles that had slowed for construction on Interstate 95 near Cranbury, N.J. in June 2014. That accident started a chain reaction that impacted 21 people in six vehicles and killed one person, according to the NTSB report. An NTSB investigation determined the tractor-trailer driver suffered from fatigue and recommended that Walmart Stores, which operated the tractor-trailer, create a fatigue management program. That program has now been implemented, the NTSB said in today’s announcement.

The second fatal accident occurred in April 2016 when an Amtrak train hit a backhoe involved in track-bed restoration and killed two people near Chester, Pa. After its investigation, NTSB recommended train dispatchers not be allowed to take part in “potentially distracting activities, such as making personal telephone calls” while on duty and “responsible for safe train operations.” The NTSB reported today that Amtrak changed its rules to adhere to that recommendation.

The NTSB compiled 268 recommendations in 10 issue areas in crafting its 2019-20 “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.” Of those, 230 recommendations remain to be addressed, NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in Monday’s announcement.

“Today, transportation is safer than it was before these recommendations were implemented,” said Sumwalt.  “But there is so much more to do.”

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