Transportation fatalities in the United States last year increased 0.6 percent over the total for 2000, according to preliminary figures released today by the National Transportation Safety Board.
For the year 2001, preliminary figures show that 44,461 persons died in highway, aviation, rail, marine, and pipeline accidents, up from 44,196 in 2000. Increases in fatalities were registered in aviation and rail while highway, marine, and pipeline fatalities declined.
Aviation fatalities rose from 779 to 1,162 in 2001, with the increase largely attributable to the deaths resulting from the terrorist acts on September 11. Total airline fatalities, up from 92 the previous year, reached 531, with almost half that number occurring aboard the four aircraft hijacked on September 11. Another 265 deaths resulted from the crash of American Airlines flight 587 in November in New York.
General aviation fatalities decreased from 594 to 553 for the year, with air taxi deaths also declining from 71 to 60. (Detailed aviation statistics can be found in NTSB press release SB-02-06, dated March 26, 2002, on the Board's web site, http://www.ntsb.gov.
Highway fatalities, which account for about 94 percent of all transportation deaths, declined slightly from 41,821 in 2000 to 41,730 in 2001. Fatalities at roadway/railway grade crossings also declined from 425 to 418.
Total rail fatalities increased in 2001 to 795 from 770, reflecting a rise in pedestrian fatalities associated with intercity rail operations. Deaths among passengers on trains declined from 4 to 3 for the year. Fatalities occurring on light rail, heavy rail, and commuter rail dropped from 194 to 175. (Because of peculiarities in reporting requirements
, there may be some duplication in the numbers for intercity rail and commuter rail on the accompanying chart.)
Marine fatalities in 2001 dropped from 801 to 767, with most fatalities occurring in recreational boating. Cargo transport and commercial fishing fatalities also declined while the number of commercial passenger deaths remained unchanged at 23 from the previous year.
Pipeline fatalities dropped significantly from 38 to 7. Deaths related to gas pipelines decreased from 37 to 7, while there were no fatalities for the year stemming from liquid pipeline operations.
Aviation statistics are compiled by the NTSB. Numbers for all other modes are from the respective Department of Transportation modal agencies. All numbers for 2001 are preliminary.