Data accumulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and released this week by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that of the 38,958 people who died in transportation-related accidents in calendar 2017, 95% or 37,133 were the result of highway crashes.
The data indicate 712 fewer people died in transportation accidents in 2017, compared to the 39,670 who died in 2016. In general, aviation, marine and highway deaths decreased, while rail and pipeline fatalities increased. Rail experienced the largest increase with 58 more deaths in 2017 than the 703 fatalities in 2016. And though highway deaths did decreased in volume—673 fewer people died in highway crashes in 2017 compared to 2016—highway fatalities continued to represent 95% of all transportation fatalities.
“Highway crashes are completely preventable,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Implementation of the 369 open NTSB highway safety recommendations, including the 22 recommendations related to speeding, have the potential to prevent crashes, save lives, and significantly reduce the carnage on our nation’s roads.”
National transportation fatality statistics for calendar year 2017 also revealed highway fatalities decreased from 37,806 in 2016 to 37,133 in 2017, and crashes involving passenger cars, light trucks and vans, pedestrians, motorcycles, pedalcycles, and buses resulted in fewer deaths, but deaths associated with crashes involving medium and heavy trucks increased to 841 in 2017 compared to 725 in 2016.
For further reading on the danger of highway stops, this article on how to safely stop on the shoulder during an emergency is recommended.