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The Most Dangerous Forms of Travel

The most dangerous ways to travel....

Widespread media attention has focused on Amtrak's Auto Train crash, which may have been caused by faulty railroad tracks owned and maintained by a private freight railroad.

Though four deaths are always four too many casualties, riding a bicycle or speeding a boat across a lake are many times more dangerous than taking a modern, safe and comfortable passenger train.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, starting the ignition of your car is more likely to kill you than any other form of transportation.

National Transportation Safety Board
1999-2000 U.S. Transportation Fatalities


    1999 20001
Highway: Passenger cars 20,862 20,455
  Light trucks and vans 11,265 11,439
  Pedestrians 4,939 4,727
  Motorcycles 2,483 2,680
  Pedalcycles 754 738
  Medium and heavy trucks 759 746
  Buses 59 31
  Other 596 984
  Total 41,717 41,800
Grade Crossings:2 (402) (425)
Rail: Intercity3-    
  Trespassers and nontrespassers4 530 544
  Employees and contractors 43 28
  Passengers on trains 14 4
  Light, heavy, and commuter rail 196 194
  Total 783 770
Marine: Recreational boating 734 701
  Cargo transport 47 36
  Commercial fishing6 57 41
  Commercial passengers 36 23
  Total 874 801
Aviation: General aviation 630 592
  Airlines 12 92
  Air taxi 38 71
  Commuter 12 5
  Foreign/unregistered7 1 17
  Total 693 777
Pipeline: Gas 22 37
  Liquids 4 1
  Total 26 38
  Total: 44,093 44,186
1 Numbers for 2000 are preliminary estimates. Aviation data come from the NTSB; all other data are from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
2 Grade crossing fatalities are not counted as a separate category for determining the grand totals because they are included in the highway and rail categories, as appropriate.
3 Data reported to Federal Rail Administration (FRA).
4 Does not include motor vehicle occupants killed at grade crossings.
5 Data reported to Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Fatalities for commuter rail operations may also be reported to the FRA and may be included in the intercity railroad fatalities.
6 Refers to operational fatalities.
7 Includes non-U.S. registered aircraft involved in accidents in the United States.


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