Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Fear of Flying? (Science, Technology & Environment)

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Fear of Flying? (Science, Technology & Environment)

Article excerpt

"Flying and Driving after the September 11 Attacks" by Michael Sivak and Michael J. Flannagan, in American Scientist (Jan.-Feb. 2003), P.O. Box 13975, Research Triangle Park, NC. 27709-3975.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many travelers decided it would be safer to drive to their destinations than to fly. Not a good choice, it turns out.

Driving becomes more dangerous as the miles traveled mount, note Sivak and Flannagan, researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The risk in flying, in contrast, increases mainly with the number of takeoffs and landings. Out of 7,071 airline fatalities worldwide between 1991 and 2000, 95 percent occurred either during takeoff and ascent or during descent and landing.

Using U.S. National Transportation Safety Board data on domestic flights (including the four in which 232 passengers lost their lives on September 11), the two researchers calculate that the risk of death for airline passengers was about 78. …

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