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Highway crashes make up vast majority of transportation deaths in 2017: NTSB

November 28, 2018

Washington — Highway crashes accounted for 95 percent of all transportation-related fatalities in 2017, according to data released Nov. 1 by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Of the 38,958 transportation-related deaths recorded, 37,133 occurred in highway crashes, which are “completely preventable,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a press release.

“Implementation of the 369 open NTSB highway safety recommendations,” Sumwalt adds, “including the 22 related to speeding, have the potential to prevent crashes, save lives and significantly reduce the carnage on our nation’s roads.”

According to the data, 2017 saw 673 fewer highway fatalities than in 2016. However, both totals still represent 95 percent of all transportation deaths each year.

In 2017, passenger vehicles were involved in the most highway deaths (13,363), followed by light trucks and vans (10,188), pedestrians (5,977), and motorcycles (5,172).

The data also reveals that:

  • 350 aviation-related deaths occurred in 2017 – 62 fewer than in the previous year – with general aviation experiencing the largest decrease (56 fewer deaths).
  • Deaths linked to railroads accounted for the largest increase, with 58 more in 2017 than the 703 reported in 2016.
  • 43 fewer deaths occurred in recreational boating incidents in 2017. However, commercial fishing deaths rose to 27 from 17.
  • 20 deaths occurred in pipeline incidents, up from 16 in 2016.