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  • National Transportation Safety Board Issues 5 Urgent Safety Recommendations as Investigation of Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions, Fires Continues

    National Transportation Safety Board Issues 5 Urgent Safety Recommendations as Investigation of Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions, Fires Continues



    Washington, DC - - (November 15, 2018) - - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued five urgent safety recommendations in a safety recommendation report issued Thursday.

    The recommendations made are based on investigators' findings in the NTSB's ongoing investigation of the Sept. 13, 2018, series of explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts, that killed one person and sent at least 21 others to area hospitals.

    The first of the five urgent safety recommendations was issued to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, seeking the elimination of the professional engineer licensure exemption for public utility work and a requirement for a professional engineer’s seal on public utility engineering drawings.

    The remaining four urgent safety recommendations were issued to NiSource, Inc., the parent company of subsidiary Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, which owns and operates the natural gas distribution system involved in the accident. These urgent safety recommendations seek:
    • Revision to the engineering plan and constructability review process across all of NiSource, Inc.’s subsidiaries to ensure all applicable departments review construction documents for accuracy, completeness and correctness, and that documents or plans be sealed by a professional engineer prior to work commencing.
    • A review and of all of NiSource, Inc.’s records and documentation of natural gas systems to ensure they are traceable, reliable and complete.
    • Application of management of change process to all changes to adequately identify system threats that could result in a common mode failure.
    • Development and implementation of control procedures during modifications to gas mains to mitigate risks identified during management of change operations, with gas main pressures continually monitored during modifications and assets placed at critical locations to immediately shut down the system if abnormal operations are detected.

    In the safety recommendation report, the NTSB says omissions in the engineering work package and construction documentation for the project were discovered during investigators’ review. These omissions were not identified by the Columbia Gas constructability review. While the engineering design package for the South Union Street project underwent a constructability review, NTSB investigators found the review did not identify the impact on pressure regulation and control. The Columbia Gas field engineer who developed the engineering plans told NTSB investigators he developed them without reviewing engineering drawings that documented the regulator-sensing lines.

    The NTSB believes a comprehensive constructability review, which would require all departments to review each project, along with the seal of approval from a professional engineer would likely have identified the omission of the regulator-sensing lines, thereby preventing the error that led to the accident. Neither the Commonwealth of Massachusetts nor Columbia Gas policy require a registered professional engineer to develop or review public utility engineering plans.

    The NTSB further believes it is critical for an engineer with appropriate qualifications and experience to review engineering plans for a gas company, if not develop them. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ exemption for the requirement of professional engineer licensure to perform “industrial” and public utility work foreclose an opportunity to detect this design oversight.

    Columbia Gas engineering plans used during the construction work did not document the location of regulator-sensing lines. The NTSB believes had accurate alignment sheets with comprehensive system information been available and used, engineers and work crews would have been able to identify the regulator-sensing lines and ensured their relocation prior to abandoning the pipeline main.

    NTSB investigators also determined that had Columbia Gas adequately performed management of change and placed personnel at critical points along the system, Columbia Gas could have immediately addressed the issue and mitigated the consequences of the event.

    The NTSB does not need to wait to develop probable cause for an accident to issue safety recommendations. In this investigation, the NTSB issued five urgent safety recommendations to address the imminent threat to life safety created by the conditions discovered thus far in the agency’s ongoing investigation of the accident.

    The full safety recommendation report is available online at https://go.usa.gov/xPGdr .



    Credit: National Transportation Safety Board...
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  • Lessons Learned from 41 Maritime Accidents Detailed in National Transportation Safety Board's Safer Seas Digest 2017

    Lessons Learned from 41 Maritime Accidents Detailed in National Transportation Safety Board's Safer Seas Digest 2017





    Washington, DC - - (November 8, 2018) - - Maritime accident investigation reports for collisions, explosions, capsizings and allisions and the lessons learned within those reports are detailed in the National Transportation Safety Board’s Safer Seas Digest 2017, released online Thursday.

    The publication is a compendium of 41 marine accident reports for accidents involving fishing, offshore supply, cargo, passenger, tanker, towing and government vessels. Reports in the digest were adopted or issued by the NTSB during calendar year 2017.

    The Safer Seas Digest is a publication designed with mariners in mind, providing them with links from the digest’s summaries to the full investigative reports and related documents on the NTSB’s website. The digest contains information that can help mariners at the deckplate level prevent future accidents, and, can help maritime industry C-suites build and sustain a culture of safety at sea.

    The lessons learned are highlighted in 11 categories including watertight integrity, heavy-weather operations, fatigue, bridge resource management, distraction, anchoring, preventive maintenance, safety management systems, monitoring rudder order response, vessel abandonment and VHF reception. The accident investigations associated with each lesson learned are listed for easy reference.

    “I hope that Safer Seas Digest 2017 provides the marine industry with essential and actionable information to address the safety issues confronting it,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “With every investigation we conduct, the lessons learned can prevent such losses in the future – when marine stakeholders at all levels of the industry apply these lessons.”




    (In this table, pulled from the NTSB's Safer Seas Digest 2017, vessels involved in the accidents detailed in the digest are listed by vessel group along with the name, vessel type and accident type)





    The 2017 completion of the investigation into the October 2015 sinking of the cargo ship El Faro was a watershed moment for marine safety, and the Safer Seas Digest 2017 includes a section about El Faro featuring infographics and information pulled from the NTSB’s 16-page, illustrated digest, “Sinking of the US Cargo Vessel El Faro.”

    The Safer Seas Digest 2017 is publicly available online at http://go.usa.gov/xPv4t – a print version will be distributed to industry stakeholders. The online version of the Safer Seas Digest gives mariners access to the complete body of work of the NTSB’s Office of Marine Safety. This is the fifth year the NTSB has published the Safer Seas Digest.

    The NTSB’s Office of Marine Safety investigates major marine casualties upon the navigable waters of the U.S. and accidents involving U.S. flagged vessels worldwide.


















    Better view


    (In this table, pulled from the NTSB's Safer Seas Digest 2017, vessels involved in the accidents detailed in the digest are listed by vessel group along with the name, vessel type and accident type)


    Credit: National Transportation Safety Board...
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  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Urges Motorists to Drive Safely Near School Zones and Bus Stops

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Urges Motorists to Drive Safely Near School Zones and Bus Stops





    Washington, DC - - (November 2, 2018) - - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging motorists to exercise caution and follow State laws when approaching a school bus or school crossing. Following a string of recent tragedies in Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, NHTSA is calling on the public and media to help educate communities on ways to reduce incidents of stop-arm violations and ensure all students arrive to and from school safely.

    NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King today issued a video message addressing recent accidents at school bus stops and urging motorists to do their part to keep children safe.













    Tips for Motorists:
    • Be alert and slow down when driving in neighborhoods with school zones.
    • Watch for children walking, playing or assembling near bus stops. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
    • Obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the flashing light signal systems used on school buses.
      • Flashing yellow lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
      • Flashing red lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.


    (Photo credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Facebook)





    Tips for Caregivers and Students:
    • Arrive at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb. The bus stop is not a place to run or play.
    • When the school bus arrives, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Use the handrails to avoid falling.
    • Never walk behind a school bus. Walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street. Cross the street in front of the bus with at least five giant steps (10 feet) between the front of the bus and you. Make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see you.
    • If you drop something near the school bus, like a ball or book, tell the bus driver right away. Do not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see you.






    Credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...
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  • National Transportation Safety Board Set to Hold Investigative Hearing on Engine Failure

    National Transportation Safety Board Set to Hold Investigative Hearing on Engine Failure


    Concerning CFM International engine failure on Southwest Airlines flight 1380 in April of 2018


    Washington, DC - - (November 6, 2018) - - The National Transportation Safety Board is scheduled to hold an investigative hearing, that is open to the public, Wednesday, Nov. 14, beginning at 9 a.m. (EST), in the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center.

    As part of the agency’s ongoing investigation of the fatal, April 17, 2018, CFM International engine failure on Southwest Airlines flight 1380, the one-day hearing will focus on CFM International CFM56-7 series engine fan blade design and development history, CFM International CFM56-7 series engine fan blade inspection methods and procedures, and engine fan blade containment design and certification criteria.

    Parties participating in the investigative hearing and the full agenda, including a list of witnesses will be announced prior to the hearing.

    NTSB previously issued an investigative update about the ongoing investigation.

    The hearing may be viewed via webcast. A link for the webcast will be available at http://ntsb.windrosemedia.com shortly before the start of the hearing.





    Credit: National Transportation Safety Board
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  • National Transportation Safety Board says Highway Deaths Account for 95 Percent of all Transportation Fatalities in 2017

    Highway Deaths Account for 95 Percent of all Transportation Fatalities in 2017



    (November 1, 2018) - - Highway crashes claimed the lives of 37,133 people in 2017, accounting for 95 percent of the 38,958 who died in transportation related accidents that year, according to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

    The data indicate 712 fewer people died in transportation accidents in 2017, compared to the 39,670 who died in 2016. Aviation, marine and highway deaths decreased while rail and pipeline fatalities increased. Rail experienced the largest increase with 58 more deaths in 2017 than the 703 fatalities in 2016.

    While 673 fewer people died in highway crashes in 2017 compared to 2016, highway fatalities continued to represent 95 percent of all transportation fatalities.








    “Highway crashes are completely preventable,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Implementation of the 369 open NTSB highway safety recommendations, including the 22 recommendations related to speeding, have the potential to prevent crashes, save lives, and significantly reduce the carnage on our nation’s roads.”

    National transportation fatality statistics for calendar year 2017 also revealed:
    • Aviation deaths decreased from 412 in 2016 to 350 in 2017. While general aviation showed the largest decrease with 56 fewer deaths, general aviation again accounted for 94 percent of all aviation fatalities.
    • Recreational boating accidents killed 43 fewer people in 2017 than in 2016, but 27 mariners died in commercial fishing in 2017, compared to 17 in 2016. Overall, there were 39 fewer deaths in marine transportation compared to the 733 fatalities in 2016.
    • Highway fatalities decreased from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017, and crashes involving passenger cars, light trucks and vans, pedestrians, motorcycles, pedalcycles, and buses resulted in fewer deaths, but deaths associated with crashes involving medium and heavy trucks increased to 841 in 2017 compared to 725 in 2016.
    • Four more people died in pipeline accidents in 2017 compared to the 16 who died in 2016.
    Preliminary aviation accident statistics also released Thursday show a slight decrease in the number of US civil aviation accidents, with 1,316 in 2017 compared to 1,335 in 2016. There were 10 fewer fatal general aviation accidents in 2017 than in 2016, and the fatal accident rate remained below one fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours for a second consecutive year.


    The approaching Thanksgiving holiday weekend is typically the busiest travel weekend of the year in the United States and marks the start of the holiday travel season. The NTSB reminds travelers that speed, distracted, impaired and drowsy driving are key factors in highway fatalities.

    When traveling by bus, train or plane, stay buckled up (just as if you were in your car), know where your nearest safety exit is and how to use it, and if directed to evacuate, leave your carry-ons behind!

    The preliminary aviation accident statistics are tracked and compiled by the NTSB. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides marine statistics, and the U.S. Department of Transportation provides statistics for all other modes. A link to the data tables for transportation fatalities for all modes may be found online at https://go.usa.gov/xPySY.




    Better Views

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    Credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board...
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  • National Transportation Safety Board says Derailment Demonstrates Need for Use of Safer Rail Tank Cars

    National Transportation Safety Board says Derailment Demonstrates Need for Use of Safer Rail Tank Cars



    Washington, DC - - (October 30, 2018) - - A broken rail, inadequate track maintenance and inspection, and inadequate federal oversight led to the March 10, 2017, derailment of a Union Pacific Railroad ethanol train near Graettinger, Iowa, according to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report released Tuesday.

    The agency also said in its report the continued use of US Department of Transportation Specification 111 tank rail tank cars in ethanol service, instead of the more robust DOT-117 tank cars, contributed to the severity of the accident in which about 322,000 gallons of undenatured ethanol was released, fueling a post-accident fire that burned for more than 36 hours. No one was injured in the accident that forced the evacuation of three nearby homes and caused an estimated $4 million in damage including the destruction of 400-feet of railroad track and a 152-foot railroad bridge.

    The train consisted of three locomotives, 98 loaded tank cars and two buffer cars filled with sand. Twenty of the 98 loaded tank cars derailed, 14 of the 20 derailed tank cars released their cargo of ethanol. Of these 14, 10 were breached from mechanical damage, four tank cars with shell damage released ethanol from bottom outlets or top fittings and thermal damage. The report states the use of DOT-117 cars, instead of the DOT-111 tank rail cars involved in the accident, would have mitigated or prevented the release of ethanol most of the derailed cars.




    (An aerial photograph of the site of the March 10, 2017, Union Pacific Railroad train derailment near Graettinger, Iowa. The train consisted of 98 tank cars loaded with ethanol, three locomotives and two buffer cars filled with sand. Twenty of the 98 tank cars derailed, 14 of the 20 released about 322,000 gallons of undenatured ethanol, fueling a post-accident fire that burned for more than 36 hours. NTSB photo)


    NTSB investigators concluded the Union Pacific Railroad was not maintaining the track structure on the Estherville Subdivision (a region of rail that includes the accident location) in accordance with Federal Railroad Administration minimum track safety standards or its own track maintenance standards. The NTSB also determined FRA inspectors did not report all defective crosstie conditions observed in the Estherville Subdivision. Additionally, investigators said in the report FRA inspectors were not using all available enforcement options to gain Union Pacific compliance with minimum track safety standards.

    The report states alcohol or drug use, and cell phone use were not factors in the accident nor was the mechanical condition of the train, the performance of the train crew or the emergency response.

    The NTSB issued three new safety recommendations and reiterated one safety recommendation. The recommendations, issued to the FRA, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Union Pacific, address training on safety standards and available enforcement options for federal track inspectors, the need for research to determine if safety would be improved by transporting ethanol in an undenatured state, and the need for Union Pacific to reexamine track maintenance and inspection program standards on all routed carrying high hazardous flammable materials.

    The abstract of the final report for the investigation may be found online at http://go.usa.gov/xPm73 . The final report will publish on the NTSB’s website within a few weeks.



    Credit: National Transportation Safety Board...
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  • U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Issues Statement on Safety Value of 5.9 GHz Spectrum

    U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Issues Statement on Safety Value of 5.9 GHz Spectrum



    Washington, DC - - (October 24, 2018) - - Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published the following statement:

    "Preserving the 5.9 GHz band for transportation communications is essential to public safety today and in the future. The automotive industry and municipalities are already deploying V2X technology and actively utilizing all seven channels of the 5.9 GHz band. There are more than 70 active deployments of V2X communications with thousands of vehicles already on the road. This technology has the potential to improve infrastructure, safety and efficiency as the Department works to make road travel and future transportation significantly safer.

    As noted in the Department’s recent AV 3.0 guidance, the three-phase research plan currently underway was developed collaboratively with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce to explore spectrum sharing technology that maintains priority use for vehicle communications. The three phases of the test plan are interdependent and ongoing, and the testing will show whether unlicensed devices can safely operate in the 5.9 GHz band. With lifesaving safety capabilities at stake, the Department maintains that all three phases of research must be completed before any decisions about spectrum reallocation can be made.

    The U.S. DOT will continue to work closely with the FCC and NTIA to utilize the 5.9 GHz band for public safety applications and vehicle safety communications."




    Credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues Statement about New Car Assessment Program's Highest Rating

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues Statement about New Car Assessment Program's Highest Rating




    Washington, DC - - (October 9, 2018) - - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) – known as the 5-Star Safety Ratings Program – provides consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles beyond what is required by Federal law. NCAP conducts a total of three crash tests on new vehicles: one frontal and two side crash tests, as well as a rollover resistance assessment – a driving maneuver test that assesses a vehicle’s susceptibility to tipping up and a measurement of how top-heavy a vehicle is. Results from these three crash tests and the rollover resistance assessments are weighted and combined into an overall safety rating. A 5-star rating is the highest safety rating a vehicle can achieve. NHTSA does not distinguish safety performance beyond that rating, thus there is no "safest" vehicle among those vehicles achieving 5-star ratings.

    Vehicle safety ratings are on NHTSA’s website at www.nhtsa.gov/ratings .



    Credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...
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  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Directs Driverless Shuttle to Stop Transporting School Children in Florida

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Directs Driverless Shuttle to Stop Transporting School Children in Florida




    Washington, DC - - (October 19, 2018) - - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a letter directing Transdev North America to immediately stop transporting school children in the Babcock Ranch community in Southwest Florida on the EZ10 Generation II driverless shuttle. Transdev’s use of the driverless shuttle to transport school children is unlawful and in violation of the company’s temporary importation authorization. NHTSA’s action aligns with the Department’s guidance related to automated vehicles, as most recently outlined in Automated Vehicles 3.0: Preparing for the Future of Transportation .

    "Innovation must not come at the risk of public safety," said Heidi King, NHTSA Deputy Administrator. "Using a non-compliant test vehicle to transport children is irresponsible, inappropriate, and in direct violation of the terms of Transdev’s approved test project,"

    In March 2018, NHTSA granted Transdev permission to temporarily import the driverless shuttle for testing and demonstration purposes. Transdev requested permission to use the shuttle for a specific demonstration project, not as a school bus. Transdev failed to disclose or receive approval for this use. School buses are subject to rigorous Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that take into account their unique purpose of transporting children, a vulnerable population.

    NHTSA notified Transdev that failure to take appropriate action may result in a civil penalty action, the voiding of the temporary importation authorization, and/or the exportation of the vehicle. Transdev has informed NHTSA that it will stop unapproved operations.




    Credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...
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  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Issues Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Issues Farm Safety Net and Conservation Payments



    Total Exceeds $4.8 Billion


    Washington, DC - - (October 12, 2018) - - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to invest in rural America with more than $4.8 billion in payments being made, starting this month, to agricultural producers through the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve (CRP) programs. Approximately $3 billion in payments will be made under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2017 crop year, and approximately $1.8 billion in annual rental payments under CRP for 2018.

    “Despite a temporary lapse of Farm Bill authorities, farmers and ranchers can rest assured that USDA continues to work within the letter of the law to deliver much needed farm safety net, conservation, disaster recovery, and trade assistance program payments,” said Perdue.

    The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and make up a portion of the agricultural safety net to producers when they experience a substantial drop in revenue or prices for their covered commodities.

    “These program payments are mandated by Congress, but the Department has taken measures to ensure we meet our deadlines and get capital in the hands of those folks that need it most. Unfortunately, 2018 has proven to be another tough year for producers across the Nation, making the timeliness even more critical. Our resilient farmers, ranchers, and producers are battling more hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods, and even lava flows,” said Perdue.

    PLC payments have triggered for 2017 barley, canola, corn, grain sorghum, wheat and other crops. In the next few months payments will be triggered for rice, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, crambe, and sesame seed. Producers with bases enrolled in ARC for 2017 crops can visit www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc for updated crop yields, prices, revenue and payment rates. The estimated payments are before application of sequestration and other reductions and limits, including adjusted gross income limits and payment limitations.

    Also, this week, USDA will begin issuing 2018 CRP payments to over 362,000 landowners to support voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. “CRP has long been a useful tool for the Department to encourage farmers to take that environmentally-sensitive, more unproductive land, out of production and build-up their natural resource base. These CRP payments are meant to help encourage land stewardship and help support an operation’s bottom line,” said Perdue.




    Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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  • National Transportation Safety Board Opens Public Docket for Concan, Texas Highway Crash Investigation

    National Transportation Safety Board Opens Public Docket for Concan, Texas Highway Crash Investigation

    Editor's note: The National Transportation Safety Board published the following information:


    Washington, DC - - (October 3, 2018) - - The National Transportation Safety Board opened the public docket Wednesday for the March 29, 2017, crash involving a pick-up truck and a 13-passenger bus near Concan, Texas.

    The crash occurred when a pick-up truck traveling north on U.S. 83 crossed the double, solid-yellow centerline, entered the southbound lane, and collided with the bus. The bus driver and 12 of the 13 passengers were killed. The truck driver and one of the bus passengers suffered serious injuries.

    Among the more than 800 pages of information in the docket are interviews with the surviving bus passenger, the truck driver, and witnesses who recorded a 14-minute video of the motion of the truck prior to the crash. Toxicology reports and photographs are also among the items in the docket.





    (This photo taken March 29, 2017, depicts the final resting position of the pick-up truck and
    13-passenger bus involved in the fatal crash near Concan, Texas. Photo courtesy of Texas Highway Patrol)





    No conclusions about how or why the crash occurred should be drawn from the information contained within the docket. The public docket contains only factual information collected by NTSB investigators, and does not provide analysis, findings, recommendations or probable cause determinations.

    The docket for this investigation was opened in preparation for the upcoming NTSB meeting slated for Oct. 16, 2018, to determine the probable cause of the crash. The opening of the docket affords an opportunity to review the factual information that has been gathered about the collision.

    The findings, recommendations, and determination of probable cause of this crash will be presented to the Board for approval Oct. 16, 2018.

    Previously released information about this crash is available at https://go.usa.gov/xPDFK .




    Credit: National Transportation Safety Board...
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  • National Transportation Safety Board Issues 11 Safety Recommendations to Improve Pedestrian Safety

    National Transportation Safety Board Issues 11 Safety Recommendations to Improve Pedestrian Safety




    Washington, DC - - (September 15, 2018) - - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the recipients of 11 safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Tuesday in its Pedestrian Safety Special Investigation Report.

    Following the NTSB’s Pedestrian Safety Forum in 2016, the Office of Highway Safety investigated a series of 15 highway crashes in which vehicles struck and killed pedestrians between April 24 and Nov. 3, 2016. While not a representative sample of pedestrian crashes (that could be generalized for all pedestrian crashes), the NTSB selected cases for investigation that cover the range of pedestrian crash characteristics. The number, 15, was symbolic of the average number of pedestrians killed each day in 2016. Unfortunately, during the completion of this study, that average number increased to 16 pedestrians killed daily. Pedestrian fatalities have increased every year since 2009, with 5,987 pedestrians killed in 2016 because of vehicle crashes.

    The Pedestrian Safety Special Investigation Report addresses vehicle-based changes, infrastructure improvements and data needs for improving pedestrian safety. The report also considers improvements to vehicle lighting systems and other vehicle safety systems that can improve pedestrian safety.

    “Pedestrian safety is a universal issue – we are all pedestrians,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Pedestrian safety requires a multi-faceted approach of engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation so all road users are provided safe facilities and use them as intended. The time is right for advancing improvements in pedestrian safety and the NTSB is proud to provide our expertise in the national effort to address this safety issue.”

    The NTSB issued eight safety recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two to the Federal Highway Administration and one to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The recommendations address, among other issues, the need include performance-based standards for vehicle headlight systems, development of performance test criteria for vehicle designs that reduce pedestrian injuries, and incorporation of pedestrian safety systems including pedestrian collision avoidance systems and other more passive safety systems into the New Car Assessment Program.

    The abstract of the report is available online at https://go.usa.gov/xPje7 and the supplemental data for the report is available in the public docket for the report is available at https://go.usa.gov/xPjeS.

    The report will publish on the NTSB’s website in a few weeks.




    Source: National Transportation Safety Board...
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  • National Transportation Safety Board says a Flight Crew Misidentified Runway, Caused Taxiway Overflight

    National Transportation Safety Board says a Flight Crew Misidentified Runway, Caused Taxiway Overflight



    Washington, DC - - (September 25, 2018) - - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined Tuesday an Air Canada flight crew’s lack of awareness caused the July 7, 2017, overflight of a taxiway at San Francisco International Airport.

    Air Canada flight 759 was cleared to land on runway 28R but instead lined up with parallel taxiway C where four airplanes were awaiting clearance to take off. Flight 759 descended to an altitude of 100 feet above ground level and overflew the first of the four airplanes. The flight crew initiated a go-around, and flight 759 reached a minimum altitude of about 60 feet above ground level and overflew the second airplane before starting to climb.

    The NTSB said in its report the misidentification of taxiway C – as the intended landing runway – resulted from the flight crew’s lack of awareness of the runway 28L closure due to their ineffective review of the notice to airmen information before the flight and during the approach briefing. Although the notice to airmen about the runway 28L closure appeared in the flight release and the aircraft communication addressing and reporting system message provided to the flight crew, the presentation of that information did not effectively convey the importance of the runway closure information and did not promote flight crew review and retention.

    “The mistakes identified in this report highlight the need for further review of approach and landing procedures,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “This event could very easily have had a catastrophic outcome. The recommendations issued as a result of this investigation, if implemented, will help prevent the possibility of a similar incident from occurring in the future.”

    The probable cause cited fatigue as a contributing factor in the incident. While the flight crew’s work schedule for the incident flight complied with Canadian flight time limitations and rest requirements, the flight and duty-time and rest requirements for the captain would not have complied with US flight-time limitations and rest requirements.

    As result of the investigation the NTSB issued six safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration and one to Transport Canada. The recommendations address issues including the need for airplanes landing at primary airports within class B and class C airspace to be equipped with a system that alerts pilots when an airplane is not aligned with a runway surface, more effective presentation of flight operations information to optimize pilot review and retention of relevant information, a method to more effectively signal a runway closure to pilots when at least one parallel runway remains in use, and modifications to airport surface detection equipment systems to detect potential taxiway landings and provide alerts to air traffic controllers.

    To view the abstract of the report, which includes the findings, probable cause, and all recommendations, visit https://go.usa.gov/xPDrW .

    The docket material for the Air Canada incident investigation – which contains factual reports for operations, human performance, air traffic control, aircraft performance, airport, and the flight data recorder. The docket also contains a video that shows the overflight, as well as interview summaries, photographs and other investigative material.

    The full report will be available on the NTSB website in several weeks.




    Credits: National Transportation Safety Board
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  • Near Miss at San Francisco Airport Subject of National Transportation Safety Board Meeting

    Near Miss at San Francisco Airport Subject of National Transportation Safety Board Meeting




    Washington, DC - - (August 31, 2018) - - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) plans to hold a board meeting Sept. 25, 2018, to determine the probable cause of the July 7, 2017, near miss at San Francisco International Airport.

    Air Canada flight 759, an Airbus A320, was cleared to land on runway 28R at San Francisco International Airport, but the airplane lined up with parallel taxiway C, which had four airplanes on it awaiting takeoff clearance. Air Canada flight 759 descended to about 60 feet above the ground and initiated a go-around after overflying the first airplane on taxiway C.

    A NTSB graphic, created from Harris Symphony OpsVue radar track data analysis, depicts the positions of aircraft on an overhead view of the runways and taxiways at San Francisco International Airport. In a transmission to air traffic control, a United Airlines airplane on the taxiway reportedly says: "he's on the taxiway". One photo, taken from San Francisco International Airport video, shows Air Canada Flight 759 passing over the United Airlines airplane.)

    WHAT: NTSB board meeting

    WHEN: Sept. 25, 2018, 1:30 p.m. EDT

    WHERE: NTSB Boardroom and Conference Center, 420 10th St., SW, Washington

    PARTICIPANTS: NTSB board members and staff

    WEBCAST: A link to the webcast will be available shortly before the start of the meeting at http://nts
    b.capitolconnection.org .




    Credits: National Transportation Safety Board
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  • FDA takes Important Steps to Encourage Appropriate and Rational Prescribing of Opioids through Final Approval of New Safety Measures Governing the Use of Immediate-release Opioid Analgesic Medications

    FDA takes Important Steps to Encourage Appropriate and Rational Prescribing of Opioids through Final Approval of New Safety Measures Governing the Use of Immediate-release Opioid Analgesic Medications




    Today’s action places immediate-release opioid analgesic drugs intended for use in an outpatient setting into agency’s Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy


    (September 18, 2018) - - Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took new steps as part of its broader efforts to address the opioid crisis by approving the final Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). This new plan includes several measures to help better communicate the serious risks about the use of opioid pain medications to patients and health care professionals. This expanded REMS now, for the first time, applies to immediate-release (IR) opioid analgesics intended for use in an outpatient setting. The new REMS also applies to the extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesics, which have been subject to a REMS since 2012.

    The REMS program requires, for the first time, that training be made available to health care providers who are involved in the management of patients with pain, and not only to prescribers. For example, the training provided through the REMS must be made available to nurses and pharmacists. The new REMS also requires that the education cover broader information about appropriate pain management, including alternatives to opioids for the treatment of pain. The agency is also approving new product labeling containing information about the health care provider education available through the new REMS.

    “Opioid addiction is an immense public health crisis. Addressing it is one of the FDA’s highest priorities. As part of our comprehensive work in this area, we’re taking new steps to rationalize prescribing and reduce overall exposure to these drugs as a way to cut the rate of new addiction. Many people who become addicted to opioids will have their first exposure in the medical setting. Providers have a critical role to play in making sure these products are appropriately prescribed to patients. Our new effort is aimed at arming providers with the most current and comprehensive information on the appropriate management of pain. This includes ensuring that prescriptions are written for only appropriate purposes and durations of use. Today’s action, importantly, subjects immediate-release opioids – which are the most commonly prescribed opioid products – to a more stringent set of requirements. The action also adds new labeling for all opioids to raise awareness about available educational materials on prescribing these powerful medications,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Appropriate prescribing practices and education are important steps that we’re prioritizing to help address the human and financial toll of this crisis. Our aim is to make sure the medical community can take advantage of the available education on pain management and safe use of opioid analgesic products. At the same time, we’re also taking new steps to advance the development of evidence-based, indication-specific guidelines to help further guide appropriate prescribing of opioids. The goal is that these guidelines will provide evidence-based information on the proper number of opioid doses that should be dispensed for different medical conditions for which these drugs may be indicated. The aim is to reduce overall dispensing as a way to further reduce exposure to these drugs. Our goal is to help prevent patients from becoming addicted by decreasing unnecessary or inappropriate exposure to opioids and fostering rational prescribing to enable appropriate access to those patients who have legitimate medical need for these medicines.”

    Since 2012, manufacturers of ER/LA opioid analgesics have been subject to a REMS that requires as its primary component, that training be made available to prescribers of those products. To meet this requirement, drug companies with approved ER/LA opioid analgesics have been providing unrestricted grants to accredited continuing education providers for the development of education courses for prescribers based on content outlined by the FDA. As part of the final action being taken today, these REMS requirements now also apply to IR opioid analgesic products intended for outpatient use. The IR drugs account for about 90 percent of all opioid pain medications prescribed for outpatient use. Additionally, the entire class of transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl (TIRF) prescription medicines have been subject to a REMS since December 2011.

    In addition to expanding the REMS to include IR opioid analgesic products intended for outpatient use, the agency has approved the new FDA Opioid Analgesic REMS Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Treatment and Monitoring of Patients with Pain (Blueprint). This includes updated educational content. The agency believes that all health care providers involved in the management of patients with pain should be educated about the safe use of opioids so that when they write or dispense a prescription for an opioid analgesic, or monitor patients receiving these medications, they can help ensure the proper product is selected for the patient and used with appropriate clinical oversight. It is expected that continuing education training under the modified REMS will be available to health care providers by March 2019.

    Today’s action greatly expands the number of products covered by the REMS. Prior to today, the ER/LA Opioid Analgesic REMS included 62 products. But the modified Opioid Analgesic REMS now requires that 347 opioid analgesics intended for outpatient use be subject to these REMS requirements. The REMS program continues to include Medication Guides for patients and caregivers to read, new Patient Counseling Guides to assist health care providers with important discussions with patients, and plans for assessing the program’s effectiveness.

    The FDA is also approving new safety labeling changes for all opioid analgesic products intended for use in an outpatient setting. For the first time, the FDA is requiring the labeling for those products to include information about the availability of education through the REMS for prescribers and other health care providers who are involved in the treatment and monitoring of patients with pain. The new labeling includes information about REMS-compliant education in the Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions sections of labeling and strongly encourages providers to complete a REMS-compliant education program; counsel patients and caregivers on the safe use, risks, and appropriate storage and disposal of these products; emphasize to patients and their caregivers the importance of reading the Medication Guide every time it is provided by their pharmacist; and to consider other tools to improve patient, household and community safety.

    There is no mandatory federal requirement that prescribers or other health care providers take the training provided through the REMS and completion of the training is not a precondition to prescribing opioid analgesics to patients. However, the FDA’s Opioid Policy Steering Committee continues to consider whether there are circumstances when the FDA should require some form of mandatory education for health care providers and how the agency would pursue such a goal. The FDA also
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