Safety Overview

Safety Overview

In 2007, the highway mode accounted for most of the total transportation accidents (99.5 percent), fatalities (94.5 percent), and injuries (94.3 percent) (Table 2-2-1, Table2-2-4, and Table 2-2-5). General aviation accounts for the majority of air accidents, fatalities, and injuries.

The number of transportation fatalities decreased for the second consecutive year, at a rate of 4.4 percent from 2006 to 2007. The number of highway fatalities decreased 3.9 percent (Table 2-2-1: Transportation Fatalities by Mode). The fatality rate of 1.41 per 100 million vehicle-miles traveled is the lowest in U.S. history1. Transportation-related occupational fatalities decreased 10 percent, accounting for 40.7 percent of all occupational fatalities (Table 2-2-3: Transportation- Related Occupational Fatalities).

Within the highway grouping, all reporting categories except two saw a decline. Passenger-car occupant deaths decreased 7.8 percent, and light truck occupant deaths decreased 2.7 percent. Motorcyclist deaths increased 6.6 percent, and the number of bus occupant deaths increased by 10, to 37 (Table 2-2-1: Transportation Fatalities by Mode). Passenger car occupants (38.4 percent), light truck occupants (28.8 percent), motorcyclists (12.0 percent), and pedestrians struck by highway vehicles (10.8 percent) account for 9 out of 10 transportation fatalities (Table 2-2-2: Distribution of Transportation Fatalities).

The majority of hazardous materials (Hazmat) incidents occurred in the highway mode (86 percent). Air (8 percent) and rail (4 percent) accounted for most of the remainder of Hazmat incidents (Table 2-2-6: Hazardous Materials Transportation Incidents). The most common materials involved in Hazmat incidents were paints and paint-related materials.

1 United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration; Roads Can Be Safer, Top Federal Highway Official Says; FHWA 16-08, available at as of Nov. 25, 2008.