The National Transportation Safety Board this week issued its 2009 Federal Most Wanted List of safety improvements. Newly added to the list is one to require Electronic On-Board Recorders by all motor carriers.

"Our Most Wanted List, which was created in 1990, was designed to raise the public's awareness and support for transportation safety issues," said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "The safety issues on this list are critical to improving transportation safety. When acted upon, these recommendations will reduce accidents and save lives."

New on the list: "Require Electronic On-Board Data Recorders to Maintain Accurate Carrier Records on Driver Hours of Service and Accident Conditions." For more than three decades, the NTSB notes, it has advocated the use of on-board recorders for all motor carriers to increase hours of service compliance by commercial drivers. The board added this issue to the Most Wanted List because the current proposal from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration "is not applicable to all operators subject to hours of service regulations, does not establish the proper incentives, and does not create a level playing field for compliance with the rules." Electronic On-Board Recorders would also result in more accurate data collected on accident conditions, says the NTSB.

NTSB also added a wish to restrict the use of cellular telephones by motorcoach drivers. Research shows that using a cellular telephone while driving degrades driving performance, resulting in slower reaction times, slower driving speeds, and increased instances of attention lapses. While this wish only applies to motorcoach drivers, as evidence mounts of the distracting nature of using cell phones while driving, it's possible they could eventually start pushing for restrictions on cell phone use by all CDL holders.

Remaining on the list in the highway mode:
* Improve the Safety of Motor Carrier Operations
* Prevent Medically Unqualified Drivers from Operating Commercial Vehicles
* Prevent Collisions by Using Enhanced Vehicle Safety Technology (such as collision warning and electronic stability control.)