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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Distribution of Transportation Fatalities by Mode

Embedded Dataset Excel:

Dataset Excel:

table_02_04_122021.xlsx

Notes:

To reduce double counting, the following adjustments are made to Total Fatalities: For Railroad, fatalities involving motor vehicles at public highway-rail grade crossings are excluded because such fatalities are assumed to be included in Highway fatalities. For Transit, non-rail modes, including aerial tramway, motor bus, bus rapid transit, commuter bus, demand response, demand taxi, ferryboat, jitney, publico, trolleybus, and vanpool fatalities are excluded because they are counted as Water and Highway fatalities. Other counts, redundant with above help eliminate double counting in the Total Fatalities.

Caution must be exercised in comparing fatalities across modes because significantly different definitions are used. In particular, Rail and Transit fatalities include incident-related (as distinct from accident-related) fatalities, such as fatalities from falls in transit stations or railroad employee fatalities from a fire in a workshed. Equivalent fatalities for the Air and Highway modes (fatalities at airports not caused by moving aircraft or fatalities from accidents in automobile repair shops) are not counted toward the totals for these modes. Thus, fatalities not necessarily directly related to in service transportation are counted for the transit and rail modes, potentially overstating the risk for these modes. 

Water injury data for 2001 and before is not comparable with later year due to a change in the reporting system.

Current version of this table is not comparable with the versions before 2014 because of the categories changing for some modes.

Water Open Investigations not included above 2004 2005 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Marine Casualty, Reportable 1 1 1 1 2 4 8 11 23 37 36 58 70 61 87 138 202 197 627
PCAS Investigations 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 10 12 15 25 27 23 23 27 48 34 31 40

Description:

KEY:  N = data do not exist; NA = not applicable; P = preliminary; R = revised; U = data are not available.

a Light trucks are defined as trucks of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating or less, including pickups, vans, truck-based station wagons, and utility vehicles. Large trucks are defined as trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, including single-unit trucks and truck tractors.

b Includes occupants of other vehicle types, other nonmotorists, and unknown. For 1960-70, the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not break out fatality data to the same level of detail as in later years, so fatalities for those years also include occupants of passenger cars, trucks, and buses.

c Recreational includes airboats, canoes, kayaks, motorboats, pontoon, rowboats, and sailboats. Data are based on information provided by the States, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. Territories to the Coast Guard Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) system, which is subject to some under- or delayed reporting.

d All operations other than those operating under 14 CFR 121 and 14 CFR 135.

e Passenger includes passenger ships, research ships, and schools ships and include only closed cases where vessels were involved in a marine casualty. See the notes below for a table of open investigations.

f Other incidents are events other than Train Accidents or Crossing Incidents that cause physical harm to persons.

g Nonscheduled service operating under 14 CFR 135 (On-demand air taxis).

hIndustrial/other includes fishing vessels, miscellaneous vessels, and offshore include only closed cases where vessels were involved in a marine casualty as of April 6, 2015. Open cases by fiscal year not included above: CY 2002 = 0, CY 2003 = 5, CY 2004 = 5, CY 2005 = 8, CY 2006 = 4, CY 2007 = 7, CY 2008 = 19, CY 2009 = 38, CY 2010 = 36, CY 2011 = 120, CY 2012 = 644, CY 2013 = 727, and CY 2014 = 742. 

i All service operating under 14 CFR 121 (Scheduled air carriers). Since Mar. 20, 1997, 14 CFR 121 includes only aircraft with 10 or more seats formerly operated under 14 CFR 135. This change makes it difficult to compare pre-1997 data for 14 CFR 121 and 14 CFR 135  with more recent years' data.

j Freight includes barges, bulk carriers, general dry cargo ships, refrigerated cargo ships, roll-on/roll-off ships, tank ships, and towing ships and include only closed cases where vessels were involved in a marine casualty as of April 6, 2015. Open cases by fiscal year not included above: CY 2002 = 0, CY 2003 = 5, CY 2004 = 5, CY 2005 = 8, CY 2006 = 4, CY 2007 = 7, CY 2008 = 19, CY 2009 = 38, CY 2010 = 36, CY 2011 = 120, CY 2012 = 644, CY 2013 = 727, and CY 2014 = 742. 

k All scheduled service operating under 14 CFR 135 (Commuter air carriers). Before Mar. 20, 1997, 14 CFR 135 applied to aircraft with 30 or fewer seats. Since March 20, 1997, 14 CFR 135 includes only aircraft with fewer than 10 seats. This change makes it difficult to compare pre-1997 data for 14 CFR 121 and 14 CFR 135  with more recent years' data.

Source:

Air:

Air, total:

National Transportation Safety Board, personal communication, as of Oct. 21, 2021. 

All other data:

National Transportation Safety Board, Aviation Accident Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table 5, available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/data/pages/aviation_stats.aspx as of Oct. 22, 2021.

Highway:

1990-2019: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, personal communication, Jan. 12, 2021.

2020: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety, Early Estimates of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities and Fatality Rate by Sub-Categories in 2020, Table 2, available at https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/#/ as of Sept. 24, 2021.

Rail:

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Safety Analysis, table 1.12, 1.13, and 5.14 , available at http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/ as of Oct. 22, 2021.

Transit:

1990-2001:  U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe Center, Transit Safety and Security Statistics, as of Mar. 2015.

2002-20: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transportation Database, Safety & Security Time Series Data (Washington, DC: Monthly Issues) available at https://www.transit.dot.gov/ntd/ntd-data as of Oct. 22, 2021.

Water:

Passenger, Freight, Industrial/Other:

U.S Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Investigations and Analysis, Compliance Analysis Division, personal communication, Nov. 20, 2012 and Nov. 12, 2013, Aug. 31, 2015, May 2016, July 2017, Aug. 16, 2018, Aug. 28, 2019, Sept. 9, 2020, and Aug. 6, 2021.

Recreational:

1990-02: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Boating Safety, Boating Statistics (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), table 31, available at http://www.uscgboating.org as of Jun. 2014.

2003-20: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Boating Safety, Recreational Boating Statistics (annual issues), table 29, available at www.uscgboating.org as of Aug. 6, 2021.

Pipeline:

U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Office of Pipeline Safety, Accident and Incident Summary Statistics by Year, available at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/data-and-statistics/pipeline/pipeline-incident-20-year-trends as of Aug. 16, 2021.

Publications: