Transportation fatalities in the United States increased slightly in 2002, according to preliminary figures released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

But deaths in the category of medium and heavy trucks declined, the report said.

Deaths from transportation accidents in the United States in 2002 totaled 45,098Ñup from the 44,969 fatalities in 2001.

Highway fatalities, accounting for more than 94% of transportation deaths in 2002, rose from 42,196 in 2001 to 42,815 in 2002. The number of fatalities climbed in most highway vehicle categories. However, a drop in the number of deaths occurred for medium and heavy trucks, which recorded 24 fewer fatalities in 2002 than in 2001.