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NTSB Reports Drop In 2011 Transportation Fatalities

An Illinois truck accident attorney at our firm recently learned that transportation fatalities in the United States declined in 2011 by approximately 2 percent. Ntsb.gov reports that preliminary figures released by the National Transportation Safety Board indicate this information. Specifically, transportation fatalities decreased from 35,043 in 2010 to 34,434 in 2011. The majority of these deaths involved passenger cars, light trucks, and vans. A decrease is also present in the number of train fatalities throughout the last year.

NTSB lists additional statistics in the report stating that in contrast to the decrease in fatalities that occurred on U.S. roadways, the total number of deaths actually increased through other means of transportation. The total number of deaths in aviation increased by 18 in 2011, with about 90 percent involving fatalities in general aviation and air taxies. Deaths on U.S. waterways also rose, in which recreational boating continuing to account for the majority of marine fatalities (U.S. Department of Homeland Security).

The chairman of NTSB states, “Transportation accidents remain one of the nation’s leading causes of death. We can do better, which is why the NTSB shines a light on key safety issues each year through the “Most Wanted List Of Transportation Safety Improvements.” Our attorneys want to inform readers about what exactly these safety issues are, in addition to highlighting the appropriate actions motorists can take to help reduce the risk of an accident occurring.

A primary safety issue that affects all motorists is regular infrastructure maintenance. Regular maintenance of highways, railroads, bridges, and waterways is required, and when necessary, repair or replacement of this infrastructure may take place. Enhanced safety technologies have also proven safety benefits as of recently.

Furthermore, buses remain to be a large part of U.S. transportation, carrying millions of passengers every year. Bus accidents can be disastrous in that they can potentially harm a large number of people at any given time. Three recurring safety issues that are reported to exist regarding buses are fatigued drivers, poor occupant protection, and marginal operators. Efforts are being made to ensure that all buses are functioning properly and all bus drivers are able to transport their passengers in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

Finally, approximately 10,000 people are killed every year due to impaired drivers. NTSB investigations have highlighted the danger of impaired and distracted drivers across all transportation modes, stating, “Distraction’s death toll is highest on the highways and is only going to grow as new hand-held devices are released each year and the automotive industry develops even more sophisticated infotainment systems.”

In general, motor vehicle accidents claim more than 30,000 lives each year, injuring tens of thousands more and costing millions of dollars in damage. Though it is somewhat comforting to learn of the two percent decrease in transportation fatalities last year, as the chairman of NTSB stated, we can do better. Improved maintenance, enhanced safety advances, and additional attempts to reduce accidents are certainly beneficial; but at the end of the day, it is the driver who needs to be responsible while behind the wheel. This includes refraining from drinking and driving at all times, never texting and driving, never driving while fatigued, following all roadway rules and regulations, and being aware of his or her own driving skills and surrounding vehicles on the road.

As it has been made clear, motor vehicle accidents exist through all modes of transportation on U.S. infrastructure and will unfortunately continue to exist. Through combined efforts from NTSB, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, additional transportation safety boards, and most importantly, all motorists on the roadway, we can hopefully continue to decrease the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities that occur on Illinois roadways.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident due to a negligent motorist, please contact our law firm to find out if legal recourse may be available to you.