NTSB: Rail Fatalities Down

Rail fatalities decreased in 2003, newly released information released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows (NTSB). Total rail fatalities decreased from 861 to 767 with every category showing improvement.

Two rail passengers were killed in 2003 compared to 7 passengers in 2002. Fatalities at grade crossings also decreased from 357 to 329.  In 2002 light rail, heavy rail, and commuter rail reported 220 fatalities. In 2003 the number dropped to 173.

However, because of peculiarities in reporting requirements, there may be some duplication in the numbers for intercity rail and commuter rail on the accompanying chart, the NTSB notes.

Transportation fatalities in the United States decreased in 2003. Preliminary figures released today by the National Transportation Safety Board indicate that 44,888 overall transportation fatalities were reported in 2003, down from 45,311 fatalities reported in 2002 statistics.

“I am very pleased to see the decrease in transportation fatalities,”said NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners, “but until that number is zero there is still work to be done.”

The largest portion of the decrease comes in highway transportation where fatalities declined from 43,005 in 2002 to 42,643 in 2003.  Deaths in passenger cars decreased by 1,109; however the reduction was offset by increased fatalities in light trucks and vans, motorcycles, and medium and heavy trucks.

Grade Crossings:













  Trespassers and nontrespassers




  Employees and contractors




  Passengers on trains




Light, heavy, and commuter rail




Total, Rail