Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased by 9.2 percent in 2009 from 2008, according to preliminary figures released today by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The data indicate that transportation fatalities in all modes totaled 35,928 in 2009, compared to 39,569 in 2008. Although highway, rail, aviation, deaths declined, pipeline and marine fatalities showed an increase.
Pipeline fatalities increased by six (8 to 14), with an increase in both categories - gas pipelines and liquid pipeline operations.
Marine deaths increased from 783 to 817, with the vast majority occurring in recreational boating (736). Other marine categories, including cargo transport and commercial fishing, showed increases as well, although commercial passenger vessels showed a slight decrease.
Highway fatalities, which account for nearly 95% of all transportation deaths, decreased from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808 in 2009. In fact, highway fatalities decreased in all categories including motorcycle fatalities (down 16 percent) which had been on the rise in recent years.
Aviation deaths decreased from 574 to 538. Nearly 90% of aviation fatalities occurred in general aviation accidents (471), but they still represented a decrease from the previous year (494).
Rail fatalities decreased 4% from 781 to 751. The vast majority of these fatalities were persons struck by a rail vehicle.