Trains have more accidents, but plane crashes kill more people

February 4, 2015


Airline and train accidents are quite rare, but vivid video footage of accident scenes give both a sense of a terrifying immediacy.

When a TransAsia Airways jet plummeted into a river in downtown Taipei just after takeoff on Wednesday, at least 23 of the 58 passengers and crew were killed, and the search continues for 20 more people aboard. As this Reuters graphic shows, 2014 was the deadliest year for civil aviation on almost a decade with 990 deaths, but the year saw only 21 fatal airliner accidents, the fewest ever. According to the Aviation Safety Network, “given the expected worldwide air traffic of 33,000,000 flights, the accident rate is 1 fatal passenger flight accident per 4,125,000 flights.”

Meanwhile back in the U.S., six people died when a Metro-North commuter train out of New York City collided with a sport utility vehicle stuck on the tracks near suburban White Plains, New York. According to the Federal Railroad Office of Safety Analysis, in 2013, 675,092,799 passengers took 748,682,075 miles of train trips, good for 21,694,948,899 passenger miles. That’s a pretty big number. During these trips, there were 2,096 railroad accidents, and according to data form the National Transportation Safety Board, 891 people were killed in rail incidents in 2013, but just six of those deaths were passengers.


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This data appears to be comparing world wide aircraft statistics with US only statistics for trains, so not a good comparison to say that aircraft accidents kill more. You would need to compare world wide train fatalities if this is the case. If you do only a US comparison, I imagine the aircraft fatalities will vary a lot more year to year, also.

Posted by lioneagle7 | Report as abusive