Chances of dying in plane crash still extremely low
An airliner prepares to land at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, September 30, 2004. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Published Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:03PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:23PM EDT
Three passenger jet crashes in the past week have resulted in 462 deaths, but flying still remains one of the safest ways to travel.
There are about 90,000 commercial airline departures every day worldwide, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization, meaning that since Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down there have been more than 600,000 other flights.
If most of your travel is in the U.S., the odds of you dying in a plane crash are about one in 11 million, according to PBS.
Even if you’re in a plane crash, take some comfort in the fact that 95.7 per cent of people survive, according to a report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
Worldwide, ICAO reports that in 2013, which was a lower-than-average year for commercial plane crash fatalities, there were 90 crashes and nine of them involved fatalities. So when factoring in passenger jet flights around the globe, the odds of being in a crash are about one in 3.65 million.
Very few of the crashes happen when the plane is en route. According to ICAO, 73 per cent of crashes in 2013 occurred when the plane was either taking off, landing or on approach. Another 17 per cent of accidents happened when the plane was either standing or taxiing.
Not so bad, right? So how does it compare to driving?
In 2011 -- the most recent year for which statistics are available from Transport Canada -- there were the fewest fatalities on our roads of any year since at least 1992. But there were still 2,006 fatalities and 166,725 injuries as a result of motor vehicle collisions. More than half of the time, the person who died was the driver, 19 per cent were passengers, 15 per cent were pedestrians, 2.6 per cent were bicyclists and 8.4 per cent were motorcyclists.
If these numbers seem skewed, it's because they probably are. For most of us, we drive or walk down the sidewalk far more often than we fly. Based on the numbers, cycling may seem safer, but there are far fewer people who bike and the speeds are far lower so one can't make that claim.
The odds of being struck by lightning in Canada are less than one in one million, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Roughly 10 people are killed each year and up to 150 injured.
Finally, let's discuss the odds of striking it rich. This may be the most depressing statistic though. The odds of an American winning the Powerball grand prize, those winnings that are well into the nine figures, are one in 175 million. But for $2, one could win well over $100 million.
And in Canada, the odds of winning Lotto Max, which is a $20 million prize for Friday's draw, are one in 28 million.
So you're telling me there's a chance.