Data released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday revealed that 2,030 more people died in transportation accidents in 2016 than in 2015, with highway fatalities accounting for 95 percent of all transportation fatalities in 2016.
The data indicate 39,339 people lost their lives in transportation accidents in 2016, compared to 37,309 who died in 2015. In addition to the increase in highway fatalities, increases were also seen in the marine and railroad sectors, with a slight decrease in aviation fatalities.
"Unfortunately, we continue to see increases in transportation fatalities," said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. "We can do more, we must do more, to eliminate the completely preventable accidents that claim so many lives each year. Implementation of the 315 open safety recommendations associated with the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements has the greatest potential to reverse this alarming trend.”
The transportation fatality statistics for calendar year 2016 reveal:
- U. S. roadway deaths increased from 35,485 in 2015 to 37,461 in 2016. Fatalities in passenger vehicles were up from 12,761 in 2015 to 13,412 in 2016.
- Railroad deaths increased from 708 to 733.
- Marine deaths increased in 2016, from 688 to 730. Recreational boating accounted for nearly 96 percent of those 730 marine fatalities.
- Aviation deaths decreased slightly from 416 in 2015 to 412 in 2016. Nearly 94 percent of aviation fatalities occurred in general aviation accidents. Air taxi fatalities decreased from 27 in 2015 to 19 in 2016.
Preliminary aviation accident statistics also released Tuesday show an overall decline in the number of US registered civil aviation accidents. Most notably, the number of fatal general aviation accidents decreased to 213 in 2016, resulting in the fatal accident rate dropping below 1 fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours for the first time in 50 years.
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is typically the busiest travel weekend of the year in the United States and kicks off travel for the holiday season. The NTSB reminds travelers that distracted, drunk and drowsy driving are key factors in highway fatalities. When traveling by bus, train or plane, stay buckled up (just as if you were in your car) know where your nearest safety exit is and how to use it, and when evacuating, leave your carry-ons behind!
Aviation statistics are tracked and compiled by the NTSB. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides marine statistics, and the U.S. Department of Transportation provides statistics for all other modes.
A link to the data tables for transportation fatalities for all modes may be found online at https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/data/Pages/Data_Stats.aspx.