National Transportation Safety Board

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is a U.S. government independent organization responsible for investigation of accidents involving aviation, highway, marine, pipelines and railroads in the United States. It is charged by the U.S. Congress to investigate every civil aviation accident in the United States, as well as significant accidents in other modes of transportation. The organization is also in charge of investigating cases of hazardous waste releases that occur from modes of transportation. Mark Rosenker has been the current acting chairman since 2003. The board is based in Washington DC.



It was established as an independent organization in 1967, through with strong ties to the US Department of Transportation. These ties were later severed under the Independent Safety Board Act of 1975. The organization receives its authority from Chapter 11, Title 49 of the United States Code. It has investigated over 124,000 aviation incidents since its establishment.


The board has five members, one of whom is designated the chairman by the U.S. President and then approved by the U.S. Senate for a fixed 2 year term. Another member is designated as vice chairman, and becomes acting chairman when there is no formal chairman. Organization within the Board is composed of separate suboffices for highway safety, maritime safety, aviation safety, railroad and hazardous material investigations, research and engineering, recommendations and communications, academy and administrative law judges. These suboffices report to the Office of Management.


The NTSB is normally the lead organization in the investigation of a transportation accident within its sphere. However, this power can be surrendered to other organizations if the US Attorney General declares the case to be linked to an intentional criminal act. This occurred during the investigation of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, when the US Justice Department took over the investigation.

An investigation of an incident within the United States typically starts with the creation of a "go team", composed of specialists in fields relating to the incident. This is followed by the designation of other organizations or corporations as parties to the investigation. The Board may then choose to hold public hearings on the issue. Finally, it will compose a final statement and may issue safety recommendations.

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