Transport Fatalities by Mode, United States, 1970-2020

Transport Fatalities by Mode, United States, 1970-2017

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Each transport mode involves a level of risk. Road transport is responsible for much more fatalities than any other mode since nearly 95% of all transport fatalities concern road. Among those fatalities, nearly 50% are drivers, 30% are passengers, 15% are pedestrians, 4% are motorcyclists, and 2% are cyclists. Although the number of fatalities in road transport has significantly dropped in spite of the growth in mobility, mainly because of better safety devices in vehicles, the modal proportion of fatalities remains the same. Air fatalities are mainly associated with general aviation and involve small planes. Fatalities involving a regular airline are rare since they are subject to strict security procedures. For railways, the majority of fatalities are the result of grade crossings and trespassers, which implies individual drivers and pedestrians. Recreational boating accounts for the large majority of fatalities for waterborne transportation. In recent years, the number of road fatalities has been steadily increasing, which implies that there are limited improvements in operational safety.