Experts in transportation and travel have long held that air travel is by far the safest form of getting around, and that if you really fear for your life, don’t cross the road or ride in – or on – a vehicle. The latest statistics for fatalities in both areas, in an aircraft and on the road, confirm this opinion as definitely winning the day.
In 2015, official statistics show that there were 121 aircraft accidents around the world, resulting in 898 deaths, those from a world population of around seven billion. Of course the more serious losses of life as a result of an accident involving a large commercial aircraft crashing – or disappearing – gain enormous publicity, but the overwhelming majority of accidents and fatalities occur in private, business and sport flying, small aircraft often carrying less than 10 passengers. Incomplete statistics which don’t include short, local ‘hops’, calculate that there are more than 100,000 flights around the world everyday – so your chances of being killed flying commercially are one in 2,925,000, or 0.019 per 100,000.
Conversely, the number of fatalities as a result of accidents on the road is really horrific. Latest estimates are that more than 1.25 million people are killed on the world’s roads every year, an average rate of 19.1 per 100,000. Of course, the skies are (relatively) clear and conditions generally consistent, whereas roads vary enormously in quality of construction and density of use, but then – how seriously are road rules followed, and laws policed? In the air, rules and behaviour are much more rigidly enforced. Regardless, you are one thousand times more likely to be killed on the road than in an aircraft accident.
So, where are the world’s real black spots on the road, and which countries have the best road safety record? Unsurprisingly, Africa ‘boasts’ 12 of the 15 most dangerous roads, and Europe 10 of the safest 15. Statistics listed below are per 100,000 of the population.
The World Health Organisation has also collated the following figures, based on fatalities per 100,000 vehicles:
Eastern Mediterranean 139
South-East Asia 101
Western Pacific 69