NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


October 2, 2003

(see related items below)

Washington, D.C. - Transportation fatalities in the United States increased slightly in 2002, according to preliminary figures released today by the National Transportation Safety Board. Deaths from transportation accidents in the United States in 2002 totaled 45,098, up from the 44,969 fatalities in 2001.

Highway fatalities, accounting for more than 94 percent of the transportation deaths in 2002, increased from 42,196 in 2001 to 42,815 in 2002. The number of fatalities increased in most highway vehicle categories; however, a decrease in deaths occurred in the category of medium and heavy trucks, which recorded 24 fewer fatalities in 2002 than in 2001.

The number of persons killed in all aviation accidents dropped from 1,171 in 2001 to 618 in 2002. It should be noted that airline fatalities in 2001 accounted for a total of 531 deaths. The 2001 deaths included the September 11 terrorist attacks and the American Airlines flight 587 crash in November. There were no fatalities on scheduled passenger carriers in 2002. The number of general aviation fatalities increased slightly from 562 in 2001 to 576 in 2002.

Total rail fatalities increased in 2002 to 603 from 597, reflecting a rise in pedestrian fatalities associated with intercity rail operations. Seven rail passengers were killed in 2002, compared to 3 in 2001. Fatalities occurring on light rail, heavy rail, and commuter rail increased from 197 to 220. (Because of peculiarities in reporting requirements, there may be some duplication in the numbers for intercity rail and commuter rail on the accompanying chart.)

Marine deaths increased from 772 to 793. Recreational boating fatalities, the largest category of marine deaths, increased from 681 to 750. Fatalities declined in marine cargo transportation, commercial fishing and commercial passenger operations.

Pipeline fatalities increased slightly from 7 to 11, 10 of them related to gas pipelines and one to liquid pipeline operations.

Aviation statistics are compiled by the NTSB. Numbers for all other modes are from the Department of Transportation.

NTSB Media Contact:
Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100

Related Items:    Table and Chart      Chart Only [PDF]     Aviation Statistics



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.