WASHINGTON, D.C. — Transportation fatalities in the U.S. decreased by 3% in 2013 from 2012, according to preliminary figures released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Fatalities in all modes of transportation totaled 34,678 in 2013, down from 35,796 in 2012. Deaths in marine, aviation, highway and pipeline transportation decreased, although there was a rise in rail deaths.

The bulk of U.S. transportation fatalities — about 94% — are in the highway segment. As previously reported, 32,719 people died in traffic crashes in 2013, which was down from 33,782 in 2012.

NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart said that while the overall decrease in transportation deaths “represents a good trend, much more work needs to be done, because 35,000 deaths is very troubling. NTSB continues to address safety issues in all modes to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, rails and waterways, as well as in our skies."

Among NTSB’s findings from the 2013 statistics are:

• Fatalities on buses were up from 39 in 2012 to 48 in 2013. (These were not broken down by type of bus.)

• Railroad deaths increased 6%, from 840 to 891. The vast majority of these fatalities continue to be trespassers struck by trains.

• Aviation deaths decreased from 451 to 443. Nearly 87% of aviation fatalities occurred in general aviation accidents.

• Marine deaths also dropped in 2013, from 711 to 615. The vast majority of those fatalities, 560, occurred in recreational boating.

Aviation statistics are tracked and compiled by NTSB. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides marine statistics, and the U.S. Department of Transportation provides statistics for all other modes.

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