Planes Trains and Automobiles: Statistics and You

The media has focused a lot of attention on the number of recent international plane crashes. CTV News for example, has published an article titled “2014 plane crash fatalities already double those of 2013”. Additional reports state that people are nervous in the wake of these tragedies and may be reconsidering their travel plans involving air travel. Countering that fear however, is clear statistical data indicating that air travel is actually one of the safest ways to travel, despite the old saying that cars are safer because you can’t pull over to replace a fan belt at 30,000 feet!

A Risk Communication researcher at Harvard University’s School of Public Health calculated in a 2006 study that the odds of dying in a plane crash are 11 million to one. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded in 2001 that even if you are in a plane crash, the odds of survival are almost certain (95.7%).

Not to minimize or diminish the consequences of these recent aviation tragedies, but it is interesting to note that one is rarely nervous before getting into the driver’s seat of their car. The Harvard study mentioned previously calculated that the odds of dying in a car crash are 5000 to 1. The National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2014 edition calculates your lifetime odds of death in a “Motor vehicle incident” at 1 in 112. Does that surprise you? Does that change how you feel about getting into your car?

Transport Canada’s Transportation in Canada 2012 report provides the following statistics relating to plane, train, and automobile accidents in Canada in 2011:

  • There were 118.5 million airline passengers, 222 aviation accidents, and no fatalities listed;
  • There were 1,012 railway accidents with 82 fatalities;
  • There were 118,759 automobile accidents with 2,025 fatalities and 162,268 injuries.

The World Health Organization website lists car accidents as one of the 10 leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 1.3 million and 2.2% of all global deaths in 2012.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these statistics are numbers that only researchers and statisticians should be interested in. They potentially apply to each of us every time we get behind the wheel and turn the key or push the start button.

Don’t become a statistic. Wear your seatbelt and adjust your headrest, ensure you can be seen on the road, be sober and alert, and make sure your driving is appropriate for the road, traffic, and weather conditions.


You need someone truly on your side. Why settle for less? Contact Einfeld Law for a free, initial consultation at (250) 712-0001, visit our website at www.einfeldlaw.com or find us on facebook.

Einfeld Law is a highly knowledgeable and experienced BC personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other negligence claims involving bodily injury. We have successfully litigated many ICBC and other insurance claims, including out of province, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash, soft tissue injury, and all other bodily injury claims. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We never act for ICBC or other insurance companies.

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