NTSB announces slight drop in 2013 transportation fatalities

Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased by 3 percent in 2013 from 2012, according to preliminary figures the National Transportation Safety Board has released.

Fatalities in all transportation modes totaled 34,678 in 2013, versus 35,796 in 2012, NTSB says. Deaths in marine, aviation, highway and pipeline transportation decreased, although rail deaths rose.

“While this decrease represents a good trend, much more work needs to done, because 35,000 deaths is very troubling,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart. “NTSB continues to address safety issues in all modes to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, rails and waterways, as well as in our skies.”

 The 2013 statistics show that overall, U.S. roadway deaths, which account for nearly 94 percent of all transportation deaths, decreased from 33,782 in 2012 to 32,719 in 2013. Fatalities on buses increased from 39 in 2012 to 48 in 2013.

Marine-related deaths dropped from 711 in 2012 to 615 in 2013. The vast majority of those fatalities (560) occurred in recreational boating; however deaths in that category also decreased.

Aviation deaths decreased from 451 to 443. Nearly 87 percent of aviation fatalities occurred in general aviation accidents, which fell from 440 in 2012 to 387 in 2013. Air taxi fatalities increased significantly from nine in 2012 to 27 in 2013.

Railroad deaths increased 6 percent from 840 to 891. Most of these fatalities continue to be trespassers struck by trains.

The NTSB tracks and compiles the aviation statistics. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides marine statistics, and the U.S. Department of Transportation provides statistics for all other modes.

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