I'm Dennis Collins, a Highway Accident Investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board--AMA!
Thank you for your questions, Reddit!
If you'd like to, keep up with the NTSB on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, our blog, YouTube, and Flickr. And you can always check out our website for investigation reports, safety studies, and updates.
I'm signing off, but I hope you enjoyed this AMA!
Hi, I’m Dennis, a Senior Accident Investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every US aviation accident and significant accidents in other modes of transportation, including highway, to improve future safety. NTSB investigators like me are launched to major accidents soon after they occur to begin investigations on-scene.
In my capacity as an NTSB investigator, I investigate the human factors of highway accidents across the United States, including distraction, fatigue, training, licensing, and toxicology. The study of human factors is where engineering and psychology overlap, and because investigating how humans interact with vehicles is key to improving traffic safety, the NTSB uses human factors specialists in its investigations.
Since joining the NTSB in 2001, I’ve investigated over 100 accidents across the country, including:
- Biloxi, MS (bus-train collision)
- Davis, OK (truck collision involving synthetic marijuana)
- Cooper Township, MI (truck-cyclists collision)
- Cranbury, NJ (fatigue, Tracy Morgan)
- Santa Monica, CA Farmer's Market (pedal misapplication)
- Minneapolis, MN (I-35W Collapse)
- Munfordville, KY (cell phone use)
- Boston, MA (the Big Dig)
- Mount Vernon, WA (pilot car bridge collapse)
- Orland, CA (motor coach fire)
I have an M.S. and a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and I’ve been studying the human factors of driving for over 18 years. Thanks for having me, Reddit—AMA!
Cooler proof: https://imgur.com/gallery/uOvEifM
Disclaimer: All opinions presented are my own and do not necessarily reflect the position of the NTSB on any given topic, and not all questions or comments will be answered or acknowledged (though we’ll do our best to answer every relevant question we can)! I am also not permitted to disclose information on ongoing investigations; the most recent investigation I’ll be able to address is the Biloxi, MS bus-train collision, which concluded with a Board Meeting yesterday.
Follow NTSB on social media for more: twitter.com/ntsb, instagram.com/ntsbgov, facebook.com/ntsbgov, youtube.com/user/ntsbgov, flickr.com/photos/ntsb, https://safetycompass.wordpress.com/ and check out our website for investigation reports and updates: ntsb.gov
Edit: I'll be answering questions in chunks on and off until about 5PM, so I apologize if there's a delay in my responses, but I'll get to as many questions as I can!