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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Planes are still SAFER than cars!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Don't let horrific recent events bias your opinions.

Since KoopaTV, and specifically by yours truly, is literally the only place and person on the Internet that wrote an opinion article discussing why planes are superior to cars for the Splatfest on that subject from the first Splatoon, some people are blaming me for the tragic plane death with Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. There was an engine failure that somehow cracked a cabin window, resulting in “uncontrolled decompression” that nearly sucked Passenger Jennifer Riordan out of the airplane. (This is why I never sit in the window seat, along with me being afraid of heights.)

She didn't fly out the plane, but she did die anyway.

This is understandably spooking people who would want to fly planes. Then people think about United Airlines and that guy being dragged off the plane even though he paid for his seat already. These scared people are turning to long road trips by car as an alternative... or even worse, by train. (If you're worried for your safety and sanity, DON'T RIDE TRAINS!)  Or... even worse than that... BY BICYCLE. PLEASE DON'T RIDE ONE OF THOSE!

While I can't address customer service in this article (there aren't statistics on how rude taxi drivers are, or how many Uber drivers are rapists and murderers), I can address safety. Planes still beat cars in that regard, and are still better than cars for all the reasons I discussed in that Splatfest article in the first paragraph.

First of all, traffic collisions and deaths are far more frequent than aviation incidents. Wikipedia requires TWO articles for “list of traffic collisions” (count them). And, of course, they are not exhaustive. There is only one for list of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft.

Airline incidents make the news because they're unusual. People die from car incidents every day, all the time. People are desensitised just to how dangerous the roads are, so they don't make headline news. Car deaths are treated as filler content on local news stations!

In fact, 2017 was named the safest year for commercial air travel, ever. No one is claiming the same for road travel.

47,486 licensed drivers in the United States alone were in fatal crashes in 2015, and 44,492 in 2009:

Thanks, Statista! (But what will happen when there are self-driving cars?)

In 2009, there were 3,466 person-trips per household in the United States. There were 117.18 million households in the United States in 2009. That implies 406,145,880,000 car trips in 2009. (That's 406 billion.)

That more-or-less means for every 9,128,515 car trips, someone's dead. At least, as of 2009. That's pretty safe when you think about it, though it doesn't count things like leaving babies in a hot car until they die. But what about airlines?

Well, for airlines, it's easy to cherry-pick statistics depending on the year. The latest available data from the National Transportation Safety Board is from 2015. There were 406 fatalities from the civil aviation sector in 2015. Of those, zero came from normal airplane flights, twenty-eight from flights with less than ten people (“on-demand commuter flights”), and 378 from idiot hobbyists who don't know what the hell they're doing (“general aviation”). In 2015, there were 8,896,612 flights from/to American airports by carriers, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. ...That's less than the number of car trips it takes for one person to die, but fortunately, zero people died from those flights, so planes are still somehow statistically safer.

I don't think the number of times a hobbyist goes on a joy ride is recorded by anyone, since there isn't any way of predicting these people. People only care when they go and happen to die from their idea of fun. No word on those on-demand less than ten people flights, either.

If you're not convinced by that, then it's also an established fact that, per mile or kilometre traveled, airplanes are by far the safest mode of transportation. Cars get to cheat by getting a ton of trips in for short distances to the grocery store. You might get into a car accident from that and become disabled for life, but you're probably not going at a death-able speed. It's not a fair comparison, which is why the per-kilometre basis (which you can convert to miles and still have the same proportions!) is better.

One other reason why planes are better than cars that I didn't bring up two and a half years ago: there aren't any pot holes in the sky, but there are on the road.


KoopaTV has had transportation superiority narratives for years, and this string of airline-related bad news was threatening those. KoopaTV therefore felt the need to write this article and reassure people that the transportation narratives aren't changing with the wind. KoopaTV follows up with and holds itself accountable for previous statements made on the site, so you can be assured that everything you read on this site is thought-out with foresight in mind. That's another thing that makes KoopaTV unique, besides writing Splatfest opinion articles. Full disclosure: Ludwig has not been on a plane since before the 2015 Splatfest article.

Even with people hijacking planes and crashing them, they're still safer than cars.


  1. I prefer the aisle for easy restroom access.

    1. I prefer the middle so I can feel nice and snug.

      I use the restroom in the airport. Ain't ever used it on the airplane. I don't know where it goes on an airplane. Do they just eject it out of the plane?

    2. It gets stored and then discarded when it is landed. They use blue soap liquid in the toilets to make the plane not stink. There are stories where they flush it out midflight anyway and it lands in an Indian village:

      Sadly could not travel with THE BABY yet on the plane. We were about to then she contracted impetigo so the doctor told us not to fly and we are waiting for insurance to hopefully reimburse us for the cancelled flight.

    3. I'm amused that the Indians treated it as a celestial object that they took home to preserve.

      What happens if they have a plane full of diarrhea sufferers and they can't store all of it?!

      You take out travel insurance or...?

    4. I took a cancellation plan and it was very much worth it. Going to be refunded the plane tickets in full. Babies are very unpredictable when it comes to health.

    5. Looks like planes have good risk management!

      DO CARS? NAH.

    6. They are going to reimburse the whole ride.

      Yeah they won't want someone contagious on board to infect the other passengers and employees.

    7. Logical and good customer service.

      Taxis won't care, and they probably don't even clean the inside of their car.

  2. According to the human health risk chapter in my textbook, as of 2005, the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident are 1 in 84, 1 in 4,919 for bicycling accidents, and 1 in 5,051 for airplane accidents. The greatest health risk is of course heart disease which many tend to overlook. While one person might have died due to unfortunate circumstance in a plane, a person is still a thousands time more likely to die from a heart attack or coronary artery disease.

    1. What do you mean, 1 in 84? 1 in 84 what?

      If they're a thousand times more likely to die from a heart attack, then the odds of dying from that are 1 in 5.051?
      Are you perhaps saying that 19 or so percent of all dead people died via heart attack, and a little over 1% died via motor vehicle accident?

    2. To be more specific, the data is based on the probabilities of death in the United States only. Also, the risk from heart disease is about 1 in 5 or roughly 19% as you said. The figure also shows that people tend to overstate some risks while understating others that are much more prevalent.

    3. Well, let's see...
      "Number of deaths: 2,712,630"
      "Heart disease: 633,842"
      Yeah, that's about right.
      And also right that car accidents would be between 1 and 2% of all deaths, which is really high if you think about how it's just supposed to be a mundane fact of life. Transportation.

      Substantially less people die from, say, food poisoning, another mundane part of life (eating).

  3. I love aviation. Both in the design of planes, and in their function. I just wish your ears didn't have to "pop" every time you go flying. I can deal with the crying babes, i just can't stand that little headache.


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