Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released preliminary statistics about transportation-related deaths in the United States during 2013. Overall, the news was better than the prior year. Transportation-related fatalities decreased by about three percent and fewer marine, aviation, highway and pipeline related transportation deaths occurred.
The Same Was Not True for Railroad-Related Deaths
The railroad transportation sector experienced an increase in fatalities from 2012 to 2013. According to the NTSB:
- 34,678 people died in transportation accidents throughout the United States in 2013. This is 1,118 fewer people than the 35,796 people who died in 2012 transportation accidents.
- Railroad deaths increased by 6 percent from 2012 to 2013.
- The number of railroad deaths increased from 840 in 2012 to 891 in 2013.
- While trespassers accounted for many of the railroad deaths, passengers, railroad workers and contractors also lost their lives in railroad accidents during 2013.
- Some of these deaths occurred on commuter trains, freight trains, or other types of trains in New York and New Jersey.
The preliminary statistics did not indicate why there was a significant increase in railroad-related deaths. Yet the numbers let us know that this form of transportation is bucking the national trend and deserves attention so that fewer lives can be lost when the government reports on railroad related fatalities for 2015 and beyond.
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