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Transportation Injury Rates

Transportation Injury Rates

Each year a far larger number of people are injured than killed in transportation-related accidents. An estimated 3.1 million people suffered some kind of injury involving passenger and freight transportation in 2001 (see box). Most of these injuries, about 98 percent, resulted from highway crashes1 [1].

Highway injury rates vary by the type of vehicle used (figure 65). In 2001, 75 passenger car occupants were injured per 100 million passenger-miles traveled (pmt) compared with 58 light truck occupants. Occupants of large trucks and buses are even less likely to sustain an injury per mile of travel. Motorcycle riders are, by far, the most likely to get hurt. Transit-related injuries are also relatively high per mile. This is due, at least in part, to the inclusion of injuries on transit property, including those not caused by transit vehicle operations, such as injuries on escalators and in parking lots. (These transit injury data will be disaggregated starting with 2002 data.)

Injury rates for most modes declined between 1991 and 2001, with some exceptions.2 Rates for light truck occupants rose 15 percent, from 50 per 100 million pmt in 1991 to 58 per 100 million pmt in 2001 (figure 66). Motorcycling has become safer per mile ridden over the decade, but since 1999, the injury rate has increased from 429 per 100 million pmt to 575 per 100 million pmt in 2001. Bus injuries per 100 million pmt have declined recently after increases in the mid-1990s.


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics 2002 (Washington, DC: 2002), tables 1-34 and 2-2, also available at http://www.bts.gov/, as of February 2003.

1 There is the potential for some double counting involving highway-rail grade crossing and transit bus data.

2 These calculations exclude bicycling, walking, and boating (including recreational boating), because there are no national annual trend data estimates of passenger-miles traveled for these modes of transportation.

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017