Essays

Airline Safety

.. MD11 crashed near Halifax, Canada: The aircraft was on a nonstop flight from New York’s JFK airport to Geneva. The aircraft crashed at night in the Atlantic Ocean close to shore about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. All 15 crewmembers and 214 passengers were killed. These are just the most recent accidents in the past decade.

Almost of all of these tragedies can be avoided with harsher regulations, but they have to implemented first. Interest Groups and Elected Officials Sections One group that is highly involved in airline safety is the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB is a small, non-regulatory, independent agency with about 400 employees. At a cost of about 18 cents per year per citizen, the Board strives to restore and maintain the safety of the nation’s transportation systems following aviation, rail, highway, marine, pipeline, and hazardous materials accidents. The Safety Board’s mission is very focused: to prevent future transportation accidents from occurring.

The Board’s vision is for the public to continue to have confidence in our nation’s transportation systems, even when accidents occur, knowing that an independent body will determine the cause(s) of accidents and recommend corrective actions to be taken. Their four goals are: 1. To prevent future accidents, save lives, and reduce injuries and property damage. 2. To prevent future accidents, save lives, and reduce injuries and property damage.

3. To provide aviators and mariners with fair, timely, independent appellate review of certificate actions taken by the FAA and the US Coast Guard. 4. To be the best managed agency in government in order to facilitate the accomplishment of our other goals. Another group that is interested in airline safety is the Air Line Pilots Association. ALPA provides all of the traditional union representation services for its members.

This includes the lobbying of airline pilot views to Congress and government agencies. In addition, it devotes more than 20 percent of its dues income to support aviation safety. A network of more than 600 working airline pilots serve on local and national safety committees to carry out the Association’s safety work. A staff of professional aeronautics engineers and safety experts assists them. ALPA is usually granted interested party status in most major airline accidents, which means that ALPA accident investigators assist National Transportation Safety Board staff at the on-site investigations and participate in the ensuing public hearings. ALPA has initiated or participated in most of the numerous safety improvements over the years that have made U.S. airline travel the safest mode of transportation.

Congressman Bud Shuster is a fourteen term Member of the Congress of the United States who serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which includes jurisdiction over highways, transit, railroads, aviation, water resources, economic development, Merchant Marine, Coast Guard, and public buildings and grounds. He has been a principal author of much of America’s transportation legislation during the past two decades, which includes the Surface Transportation Act of 1982, the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, and the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), the most historic transportation legislation since President Eisenhower and the Congress created the Interstate Highway System in 1956. He is very devoted to improving airline safety and saving lives. This is very obvious if you read the laws that he helped pass. James Oberstar is a congressman from the 8th district in Minnesota.

He is the Senior Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Even though he is of a different political party than Congressman Shuster, he still shares similar beliefs. They both are in favor of increased regulations, but Oberstar is more in favor of harsher regulations. He is always proposing amendments to help fund the NTSB. The last major one he attempted was in July of 1996. It asked for 5 million dollars to be given to the NTSB so that they could hire 31 new specialists. Analysis and Discussion Section It is tough to say exactly what should be done regarding airline safety regulations.

The government should increase the regulations and make penalties harsher. More government funding should be given to the NTSB to increase their range and power. If they could hire more specialists for targeted danger areas, than hopefully, these accidents could be minimized. Also, the NTSB should place tougher regulations on all aspects of airline safety. If this is done, airlines will have to pay more, thus leading to higher ticket prices, but in the long run it is worth it. You can’t put a price on human life, and if more funding isn’t given to see this out, that is exactly what would be happening.

On the other hand, some think differently. The government should not increase funding of the NTSB and not spend tons of money on something that can to completely be prevented. Air travel is still the safest way to go, so if money is going to be used on saving lives, it should first be directed towards something like automobile safety. If regulations are increased than the public is paying for it twice. They have to pay the taxes to fund the NTSB, and then pay the higher ticket prices that the airlines will have to create due to their higher safety expenses.

Saving lives is important, however there is only so much that can be done. Even if every airplane suits every regulation perfectly, there will still be accidents. Human error and nature will still cause its fair share of disasters, and wasting money trying to stop nature is just stupid. For the same money, you could save more lives if you attack the safety regulations on other things, like cars. No matter what method that the government chooses to use, people will be angry.

It is and will always be a controversial issue. Current Events.