Flying Without Fear

Physician's Money Digest, September30 2003, Volume 10, Issue 18

Airline executives like to point outthat flying is safer than driving on majorhighways, and the numbers help provetheir case. After a disastrous year in2001, when 531 passengers died onscheduled airline flights (half of them inthe September 11 terrorist attacks), commercialairlines enjoyed a fatality-freeyear in 2002. Statistics from the NationalTransportation Safety Board show thatthere were just 34 accidents on scheduledairlines last year, none of them fatal,marking the first time in 2 decades thatthere were no deaths on commercial airlineflights. The overall trend towardfewer accidents also continued last year.The accident rate for scheduled airlinesdropped down to 3.3 per million departures,an 11% reduction from the 2001rate of 3.7 accidents per million departures.In 2002, there were nearly 43,000deaths on US highways.