WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) employees returned to work on Monday, and are developing plans to address work that could not be accomplished during the partial government shutdown.
Of the 397 NTSB staff members, 367 employees were furloughed, 26 were excepted, and four investigators were recalled and worked without pay to support investigations of three international aviation accidents, according to a news release from the agency.
As of Friday, impacts of the partial shutdown on the NTSB include:
• Twenty-two accidents in which the NTSB did not dispatch investigators, including two highway accidents, resulting in seven fatalities and 15 injuries. These accidents now require investigative action. (As previously reported, one of these accidents is a crash between a school bus and a tractor-trailer in New Jersey that injured 14 students on Jan. 7.)
• Six accidents in which the NTSB did not gather evidence to determine if an investigation was warranted, including three highway accidents resulting in eight fatalities.
The 22 accidents in which the NTSB did not send investigators, but would have if not for the partial shutdown, may not result in investigators physically visiting the accident sites, and, it is possible that perishable evidence may have been lost, which potentially could prevent determination of probable cause, according to the NTSB.
Work also stopped during the partial shutdown on 21 ongoing highway investigations, as well as nearly 2,000 aviation investigations, and dozens of rail, pipeline, hazardous materials and marine investigations.
Additionally, work within the Office of Research and Engineering stopped on over 400 cases in the Vehicle Recorders Division and more than 50 cases in the Vehicle Performance Division. The launch of the NTSB’s 2019 – 2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements had also been postponed. (It has been rescheduled to Feb. 4.)