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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

August 14, 2013

This summer has brought an unusually high number of high profile transportation accidents. When hearing about these various incidents, it makes it hard not to worry about the risks of travelling. It starts to raise the question of the general safety of all the different modes of transit. But just how frequently do accidents happen when travelling by plane, train or automobile?


Travelling by Train:

According to the Association of Oil and Gas Producers:



  • The worldwide fatality rate for trains is 0.4 for every one billion passenger kilometers.


Based on data from the National Safety Council:



  • The New York Times calculated that the lifetime risk of an American dying in a train crash was one in 156,169.


According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada:



  • In 2011, 17% of rail accidents involved vehicles or pedestrians at rail crossings, nearly unchanged from 18% over the previous 5 years.


Travelling by Air:

According to Arnold Barnett, a statistics professor at M.I.T:



  • A person could fly every day for an average of 123,000 years before dying in a plane crash.


According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada:



  • There has been a significant downward trend in accident rates (the number of accidents per 100 000 flying hours) in the last decade, from 7.0 in 2002 to 5.7 in 2011.


Canadian Statistician Dr. Jeff Rosenthal states:



  • Your chances of surviving your next flight is 99.9999815%.


Travelling by Automobile:


The 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety produced by the World Health Organization reports that:



  • About 1.24 million people die on roads worldwide every year.

  • Nearly half of the fatalities in road accidents are pedestrians, cyclists and users of motorized two-wheelers.

  • Road traffic accidents were the eighth highest cause of death worldwide in 2004, representing 2.2 per cent of all deaths


According to Transport Canada and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport:



  • In 2010, while about 57 per cent of fatal collisions took place on rural roads, 73 per cent of recorded injury collisions took place in urban areas.

  • Nearly 23 per cent of motor vehicle fatalities were 15-to-24 year olds in 2010, even though this age group makes up only 13 per cent of the Canadian population.


You often hear on the news about serious plane and train disasters, but the mode of transit that you should be most cautious about, is driving. When travelling by plane or train, there is actually a low chance of an accident occurring, and your highest risk is when operating an automobile. This is why it is so important to follow safety precautions to prevent car crashes from happening.


To learn about what to do if you’ve been in a car accident, please click HERE.




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