Transportation fatalities in the United States increased last year, according to preliminary figures released last month by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Deaths from transportation accidents in the United States in 2005 totaled 45,636, up from 45,092 in 2004. Based on our firm’s experience in litigation relating to highway crashes, I was not at all surprised to learn of the increase in deaths. NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker stated:
It is very disturbing to see transportation fatalities rising. In all modes, but especially on our roads and highways, we need a concerted effort by government, industry and the traveling public to establish a strong downward trend in the number of fatal accidents.
Highway transportation, which by far accounts for the largest portion of fatalities, rose to 43,443 in 2005 from 42,836 in 2004. Motorcycle fatalities jumped substantially to 4,553 in 2005 from 4,028 the previous year. Buses, light trucks and vans, medium and heavy trucks, and pedestrian deaths also showed increases. But, passenger car fatalities fell from 19,192 in 2004 to 18,440 in 2005. The number of persons killed in all aviation accidents in 2005 dropped to 616 from 652 in 2004. Airline fatalities increased from 14 to 22, while air taxi deaths dropped sharply from 64 in 2004 to 18 last year. General aviation fatalities in 2005 ticked up slightly to 562 from 558.
Total rail fatalities decreased from 816 in 2004 to 789 in 2005, with declines reflected in both the intercity and transit categories. Marine deaths showed a slight increase from 765 in 2004 to 769 in 2005. Recreational boating deaths, the largest marine category, jumped to 697 from 676, while cargo transport fatalities dropped substantially to 12 in 2005 from 26 in 2004. Pipeline fatalities decreased in 2005 from 23 to 19, with 17 deaths related to gas pipelines and 2 to liquid pipeline operations. Aviation statistics are compiled by the NTSB. Numbers for all other modes are provided by the Department of Transportation.
Source: Insurance Journal