NTSB: Transportation Deaths Declined Last Year; Motorcycle Fatalities Increased

TRANSPORTATION fatalities in the United States decreased by one and a half percent in 2006 from 2005, according to preliminary figures contained in a report released on Oct. 4 by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The data indicate that transportation fatalities in all modes totaled 45,026 in 2006, compared to 45,735 in 2005. While highway and rail fatalities declined and pipeline deaths remained virtually unchanged, marine and general aviation fatalities showed increases.

"Despite the slight decline in overall transportation fatalities this past year, the annual loss of more than 40,000 people on our roads, rails, waterways and in our skies is a national tragedy," said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "We must all work together to promote safety across all transportation modes, with the board leading the way by continuing its emphasis on our Most Wanted list of safety improvements."

Highway fatalities, which account for nearly 95 percent of all transportation deaths, decreased from 43,510 in 2005 to 42,642 in 2006. However, motorcycle fatalities not only increased five percent from 4,576 in 2005 to 4,810 in 2006, but the 234 additional deaths that occurred in 2006 when compared to 2005 made this the single largest increase in a specific category across all modes. The number of fatalities decreased or remained approximately the same in most other highway vehicle categories.

Aviation deaths rose from 617 to 779. Nearly 90 of aviation fatalities occur in general aviation accidents (698) and they account for a significant majority of the increase in aviation-related deaths from 2005 to 2006.

Marine deaths rose from 789 to 805, with the vast majority occurring in recreational boating (710). All other marine categories (cargo transport, commercial fishing and commercial passengers) remained nearly unchanged.

Rail fatalities decreased slightly from 803 to 781, with declines in all categories except for pedestrian fatalities associated with intercity rail operations (559 to 585).

Pipeline fatalities increased by three deaths (16 to 19), with the slight increase related to gas pipelines and no deaths in liquid pipeline operations.

Aviation statistics are compiled by the NTSB. Marine numbers are provided by the Department of Homeland Security and numbers for all other modes by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

For more information, contact NTSB at http://www.ntsb.gov.

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