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NTSB: Highway Deaths Fell in 2009

Oct 18, 2014 - Articles by

At a time when the birth rate is climbing, Millennial teens taking to the road, and new-car sales are recovering, this statistic may surprise you: between 2008 and 2009, transportation fatalities in the U.S. actually decreased by 9.2 percent.

These were preliminary figures released a few weeks ago by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in advance of its annual report. “Transportation” includes the three major modes of moving humans: highway, rail and aviation. The agency also tracks safety statistics for pipeline and marine facilities.

Researchers found that fatalities in all modes of transportation totaled 35,928 in 2009, compared to 39,569 in 2008 (despite tiny upticks in the marine and pipeline categories).

The biggest surprise was that highway fatalities, which account for nearly 95 percent of all transportation deaths, declined for all motor vehicles — including motorcycles, which had been rising for decades.

Scores of safe-driving initiatives are in place to continue the downward turn in fatal accidents on the road, from driver education classes to stricter seat-belt laws, better-designed roadways, and national “Drive Smart” campaigns. Whether they succeed, or whether 2009 will amount to no more that a statistical speed bump, remains to be seen.

Other Transportation Accident Statistics

In 2009, 538 fatalities occurred in the aviation field, down moderately from 574 in 2008. Most were in the nature of “general aviation accidents” and occurred during the regular course of the airline business. Rail-related fatalities decreased by 4 percent, from 781 to 751. Most involved motorist-railcar collisions.

Among last year’s marine (water-related) deaths, which increased from 783 to 817, the vast majority were suffered by recreational boaters. The three other marine categories, commercial fishing, commercial passenger transport, and cargo transport, showed only minimal changes.

With over 35 years of experience, the attorneys at Brown Moore and Associates can help you evaluate your rights and responsibilities if you’re involved in a transportation-related accident.