National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Despite an overall downward trend in transportation fatalities in the United States, estimates for 2010 released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today reveal a rise in several categories, including motorcycles, medium and heavy trucks, buses, rail and pipeline. The deadly natural gas pipeline accident in San Bruno, California, that killed eight people and was investigated by the NTSB, contributed to the rise in pipeline fatalities.
"Though the NTSB continues to advocate for changes to address human factors, equipment, and infrastructure improvements to prevent crashes, we continue to see far too many deaths each year," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.
The data indicate that overall transportation fatalities decreased to 34,925 in 2010 from 35,994 in 2009.
The total number of fatalities on U.S. roadways dropped by about 1,000 (33,883 to 32,885) with the majority of vehicle-related deaths involving passenger cars and light trucks and vans. Motorcyle-related deaths saw the largest increase (4,469 to 4,502), but deaths also rose for occupants in medium and heavy trucks (499 to 529) and buses (26 to 44).
Rail fatalities increased from 742 to 813, with the majority at grade crossings, though deaths on light, heavy and commuter rail rose from 229 to 253.
The recreational boating segment of the marine industry saw 672 deaths in 2010 compared to 736 in 2009. Other marine categories, including cargo transport (16 to 14), commercial fishing (49 to 30), and commercial passenger vessels (13 to 17), saw smaller changes.
The majority of aviation deaths occurred in the general aviation category (450), down from 478 in 2009. While fatalities in commercial aviation (52 to 2) and foreign/unregistered (4 to 3) dropped, air taxi deaths (17) remained the same.
Pipeline fatalities increased by 9 (13 to 22) across both categories - gas pipelines and 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 Department of Transportation.
A link to the statistical tables may be found here:
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.