2012 was the safest year to fly since the start of the jet age
Last year only 475 people died in air crashes, while around 3 billion flights were made. According to an M.I.T. statistician, quoted in Monday’s New York Times, “flying has become so reliable that a traveler could fly every day for an average of 123,000 years before being in a fatal crash.”
Flying in a commercial airliner* these days is fantastically safe. But it doesn’t always feel safe. And it’s this feeling, rather than cold hard facts, that shapes our attitudes to air travel.
On this morning’s Today programme David Spiegelhalter, Cambridge University’s Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, compared the risks of death associated with various modes of transport.
When you look at the numbers, it quickly becomes clear that you’re a lot more likely to die in an accident driving to the airport than in a plane crash. It also became clear that we need a lot more David Spiegelhalters around to help us make sense of risk.
* things don’t look so good when you look at the numbers for private planes