The National Transportation Safety Board has released data showing that 2,030 more people died in transportation accidents in 2016 than in 2015, with highway deaths accounting for 95% of all transportation fatalities.
The data indicate 39,339 people lost their lives in transportation accidents in 2016, compared to the 37,309 who died in 2015. In addition to the increase in highway fatalities, rises were also seen in the marine and railroad sectors, with a slight decrease in aviation fatalities.
U.S. roadway deaths increased from 35,485 in 2015 to 37,461 in 2016. Of that number, fatalities in passenger vehicles increased from 12,761 in 2015 to 13,412 in 2016.
"Unfortunately, we continue to see increases in transportation fatalities," said Robert Sumwalt, NTSB chairman. "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.”
Because of the increase in travel around holidays like Thanksgiving, NTSB is reminding drivers to watch out for distracted, drunk, and drowsy drivers, who are often key factors in highway deaths.
There was an increase in deaths from railroad and marine deaths for the year as well, but aviation deaths were down very slightly from 416 in 2015 to 412 in 2016. Most aviation deaths occur in civil aviation accidents. 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. 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 here.