Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dedication to Safety

The dedication ceremony for new bike racks at the airport tomorrow got me thinking about the contrasting attitudes of regulators for airplanes as opposed to motor vehicles.

European regulators have no qualms about shutting down air travel – at a cost of well over $200 million a day – for a volcanic ash threat that they readily admit has not been adequately studied and has never caused a fatality.

Compare those actions to the inadequate response to other threats to travelers’ lives:
  • Texting while driving increases crash risk by up to 22 times
  • Talking on the phone (even hands-free) increases crash risk by 8 times
  • (In contrast, driving at the legal blood alcohol limit increases crash risk by 11 times)
Can you imagine regulators shutting down all cell phone towers near highways until we figure out how to control these well-studied risks?

2 comments:

2.0Henry said...

I can't. Car crashes are so mundane compared to the spectacle of planes falling out of the sky. Until Americans recognize motor vehicle accidents are the most likely cause of death for themselves and loved ones, more than cancer, heart disease, terrorist attack or plane crash, then it's not likely anyone will take the risk seriously.

Don said...

Alex, next time research before you post. In 1982 a passenger jet flew near an volcanic ash cloud and had all four engines fail. It lost 20,000 feet of altitude and took 15 minutes to restart the engines. They came within minutes of crashing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_9

But then again no one died so I guess volcanic ash is not a threat to aviation.