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Safety Record of U.S. Air Carriers

Per the National Safety Council® (NSC) in its INJURY FACTS® 2017 EDITION, “Overall, passenger transportation incidents account for about 1 out of 6 unintentional injury-related deaths. But the risk of death for the passenger, expressed on a per-mile basis, varies greatly by transportation mode. Highway travel by personal vehicle presents the greatest risk; air, rail, and bus travel have much lower death rates.” The table below shows the most recent available comparative information on U.S. passenger transportation fatality rates.

 

Years U.S. PASSENGER FATALITIES PER 100 MILLION PASSENGER MILES
Light Duty Vehicles 1 Intercity Buses 2 Railroad Psgr. Trains 3 Airlines 4
2012-2014 0.46 0.04 0.02 0.00

 

1. NSC Fatality Analysis Reporting System: cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs, plus taxi passengers and drivers of light duty vehicles

2. American Public Transit Association and National Safety Council estimates: does not include school buses or transit buses

3. Federal Railroad Administration: Amtrak and commuter rail service 4. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS): large airlines and scheduled commuter airlines, excludes cargo/charter/on-demand

 

The U.S. government began publishing statistics on the safety of commercial aviation in 1927. While 1978 legislation eliminated economic regulation of the U.S. airline industry, it left safety regulation very much in place. The following table depicts the safety record of U.S. airlines performing scheduled services worldwide, from 2000 to present, as recorded by NTSB Safety Record of U.S. Air Carriers (Part 121 Scheduled Service): 2000 to Present

 

Year Accidents: Total Accidents: Fatal Fatal Accidents per 100,000 Departures Fatalities:Total Fatalities: Onboard
2000 49 2 0.018 89 89
2001 41 6 0.019 531 525
2002 34 0 0.000 0 0
2003 51 2 0.020 22 21
2004 23 1 0.009 13 13
2005 34 3 0.027 22 20
2006 26 2 0.019 50 49
2007 26 0 0.000 0 0
2008 19 0 0.000 0 0
2009 26 1 0.010 50 49
2010 28 0 0.000 0 0
2011 29 0 0.000 0 0
2012 23 0 0.000 0 0
2013 19 0 0.000 0 0
2014 30 0 0.000 0 0
2015 29 0 0.000 0 0
2016 27 0 0.000 0 0

Sources: 1927-37: AA Statistical Handbook (December 1945). 1938–71: CAB Handbook of Airline Statistics (1973), Part VIII, Items 19c,d, pp. 595-596; NTSB Safety Studies Division. 1972–82: FAA Statistical Handbook (1972-82), Table 9.3, p. 161, citing NTSB for totals; 1983–present: NTSB Aviation Accident Statistics, Table 6. Fatal Accident Rate excludes incidents resulting from illegal acts, consistent with NTSB practice.

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