With a slew of recent air disasters headlining the news in recent months, any ‘would be’ air traveller is likely to start thinking twice about climbing aboard a sophisticated aircraft and putting their life in the hands of fate. These fears don’t seem to be present however when climbing behind the wheel of a car or even boarding a train or bus but maybe they should be.
Transport Canada statistics from 2010 show the number of fatalities by modes of travel and in Canada, 60 Canadians were killed in air disasters while 81 were caused by rail and a whopping 2,186 died on highways – yes that’s six people each day, 365 days a year.
While the recent Malaysian flight was shot down over a war zone and Air Algerie killed five Canadians likely caused by fierce storms, these fatalities don’t come close to the carnage that highway travel brings.
If a traveler were to use some common sense, they might think twice about the routes they are taking or when they take them to avoid the world’s trouble spots but after all, there are Aviation Agencies and smart people at airline companies that are also supposed to be looking out for a traveler’s safety. Not so much for cars…yes we have rules of the road, speed limits, warning signs and enforcement of the laws but the staggering numbers of deaths on our own Canadian highways would indicate that something else is missing.
Most air travelers don’t give a thought to the condition of a pilot in the cockpit and many wouldn’t worry about the competence of air traffic control systems but on our highways, we have to. While mid-air collisions are rare, six in the last 12 years worldwide, killing 172 people, traffic collisions in Canada in 2011 resulted in either death or injury to over 165,000 Canadians according to Transport Canada, a sobering statistic that begs for more common sense when getting behind the wheel of a car. Sure, watch out for the other guy but depending on the perspective, we are ALL ‘that other guy.’