car accidentTransportation fatalities in the United States increased by three percent in 2012 from 2011, according to preliminary figures released last week by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Fatalities in all modes totaled 35,531 in 2012, compared to 34,551 in 2011. Although marine, aviation and pipeline deaths declined, highway and rail fatalities increased.

"We have a serious public health and safety epidemic on our highways,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman. “With our Most Wanted List, the NTSB highlights common-sense solutions to these safety issues that can improve safety and reduce the loss of life on our roads, rails, and waterways and in our skies."

The 2012 statistics show:

• Deaths on U.S. roadways, which account for nearly 94 percent of all transportation fatalities, increased from 32,479 in 2011 to 33,561 in 2012. Highway fatalities increased in all categories except buses, which were down from 55 fatalities in 2011 to 39 in 2012.

• Railroad deaths also increased six percent from 757 to 803. The vast majority of these fatalities were individuals struck by a moving rail vehicle.

• Aviation deaths decreased from 498 to 449 in 2012. Nearly 96 percent of aviation fatalities occurred in general aviation (432); however, the statistics showed a decrease from the previous year (448). In 2012, air taxi fatalities dropped from 41 in 2011 to 15 in 2012.

• Marine deaths also dropped in 2012, from 803 to 706. The vast majority of the fatalities, (651), occurred in recreational boating.

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.

Links to the statistical tables for all modes, including rail and pipeline, may be found here: