Browsing Tag: Airline Deaths

The fear of flying is rational, but is all the attention given to airline safety rational?

The fear of flying is rational, but is all the attention given to airline safety rational?

I understand why there are people who might be afraid to fly. I would be a liar if I said that I have never felt un-easy during a turbulent flight or rough landing. But with all the attention always given to airline safety, one would think planes are falling out of the sky constantly. As most of you probably know, flying is extremely safe. So why is so much attention always given when something remotely related to airline safety makes headlines?

Are there that many deaths in the US each year from airlines to cause such attention? Hmm. Not really (see data below), especially when compared to other deaths. So why do airlines get so much coverage and regulation, when other, more easily preventable deaths do not?

Please note that this post is by no means to trivialize anyone who dies from any of these causes in the US each year, but it is to compare how much attention is given to different kind of deaths each year in the US.

Here are statistics for the number of deaths in the US each year for 2009:
All Deaths: 2,436,682
Heart Disease: 598,607
Alzheimer’s: 78,889
Diabetes: 68,705
All Transportation related deaths: 39,057
Auto accident deaths: 36,284
Deaths from falls: 24,834
Homicide: 16,591
Accidental drowning: 3,539
Hernias: 1,821
Tornado: 550
US Troops in Iraq: 149
Lightning: 34
Dog Attack: 32
Malaria: 5

Now, let’s take a look at airline related deaths in the US:

Airline deaths 2009: 45
Airline deaths 2010: 0
Airline deaths 2011: 0
Airline deaths 1982 to present: 2924

For me, that is amazing. More people died from accidental drowning in 2009 alone versus all the people who have died from airlines in the US since 1982. Now, the big question: why is so much attention given to airline related deaths? What are your thoughts?

Image: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren