What price for safety?

I don’t really have a strong opinion about the latest proposals to keep us safe from terrorists on airplanes.

However, I thought it might be worth noting that according to the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia, there were 37,261 traffic fatalities in 2008. For the prior 14 years, this number was north of 40,000 annual fatalities.

As far as I know, there hasn’t been much discussion about these numbers. Maybe it’s because our fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled has been dropping over time, and we think that having fewer than 2 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is an acceptable loss.

Could we apply this acceptable loss rate to air travel and reap the benefits of the recovered productivity?

Or should we strengthen our traffic laws and their enforcement so that we get traffic fatality numbers below the omg threshold?

2 thoughts on “What price for safety?”

  1. We should strengthen our licensing standards, to start with, and our overall understanding of motor vehicle control.

  2. Or build a predictable, ubiquitous transit infrastructure and charge appropriate fuel and parking fees to reduce the vehicle miles traveled.