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NTSB: Boating safety is improving

The National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday updated its "Most Wanted List" of transportation safety improvements directed at state governments by adding a new issue area - motorcycle safety - and dropping recreational boating, where it said substantial progress has been made.

The changes were announced at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

From 1997 through 2008, the NTSB said, the number of motorcycle fatalities more than doubled during a period when overall highway fatalities declined. Although the number of motorcycle fatalities fell in 2009, the 4,400 deaths still outnumbered those in the aviation, rail, marine and pipeline sectors combined, the NTSB said.

Almost 700 people die every year in recreational boating accidents in the United States. In 1994, the NTSB added boating to its top-priority list, asking the states to require personal flotation devices for children and to implement training and licensing requirements for recreational boaters. Since that time, 70 percent of the states have responded favorably to those recommendations, the NTSB said.

Although the NTSB has removed boating from its top-priority list, it will continue to push for action in the remaining states.

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