When a person expresses fear about air travel, often somebody will helpfully explain that there is more chance of being killed in a vehicle accident in the taxi on the way to the airport than in an air accident once on board per source here and here.

Is the typical taxi ride to the airport really more dangerous than the flight itself?


1 Answer 1

  1. One is more likely to be killed on the drive to the airport than on a flight on an airline with a good safety record.

Rail and plane travel are much safer in terms of annual and lifetime odds than road travel when calculated in terms of deaths and total population. The odds of being killed on a single airline flight are 1 in 29.4 million. The OAG Aviation & PlaneCrashInfo.com accident database calculates odds of fatality for an individual on one of the 39 safest airliners at 1 in 10 million. However, by comparison, on the 39 airlines with the worst records, the odds are calculated to be more than 10 times greater at 1 in 1.5 million.

Still, a motor vehicle occupant's accidental death risk per year during a drive are 1 out of 7,700 referring to U.S. Department of Transportation. The lifetime odds of a motor vehicle accident is 1:112 referring to National Safety Council.

  1. "Mile to Mile" comparison of different modes of transportation show that travel by air has the same fatality rate as driving, but a much lower fatal accident rate (by a large number of fatalities per accident).

The fatality rates calculated by Mereterix for driving is 1.32 fatal accidents and 1.47 fatalities per 100 million miles (for 2014, the fatality rate fell to a record-low of 1.07 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) and airlines is .05 fatal accidents and 1.57 fatalities per 100 million miles.

  • 2
    I would really, really like to see uncertainties to those numbers. The whole answers could be suffering from the "false precision" fallacy.
    – Sklivvz
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:11
  • 1
    I'm having trouble mapping from your claims to the sources provided. (For example: Who says there is one fatality in 8 million trips? I can't figure which reference is supposed to support that.) Quoting directly from the sources would help.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 1, 2015 at 13:28
  • @Oddthinking-added the source for motor vehicle accident numbers! Dec 2, 2015 at 7:05
  • Which are per year, not per trip. :-(
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 2, 2015 at 12:38
  • Just confirming I'm reading the last paragraph correctly: about 26 times less likely to have a fatal accident, but about the same average number of deaths.
    – Mark Hurd
    Dec 4, 2015 at 23:59

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