TSA: causing air travel avoidance and leap in traffic deaths?

There’s a report that US traffic deaths in the first three months of 2012 jumped 13.5 percent — the highest number since 2008.  

David Shepardson writes in the Detroit News:

The estimated increase is the second largest quarterly jump in traffic deaths since NHTSA began tracking deaths on a quarterly basis in 1975 — and the biggest since 1979.

NHTSA said the rate of traffic deaths per 100 million miles of vehicle travel increased substantially. For the first three months of 2012, the rate increased significantly to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, up from 0.98 fatalities per 100 million miles in the same period last year.

. . . The increase would end a steady decline in U.S. road deaths over the last seven years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration speculated that this jump in traffic deaths was caused by the “very warm winter across the country,” causing people to drive more.

But hmmm . . . .

Could it perhaps have something to do with the fact that Americans don’t want to have their Constitutional rights violated? Their sex parts fingered at the airport? And that maybe they don’t want to stand in line two hours for a pointless show of “security” that has yet, in its $60 billion-plus history, to catch much more than the likes of a veteran’s rusty pocketknife, cupcakes in a jar, and a bunch of hidden weed?

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/gohsuket)

  • Drontil

    As well, this from John Mueller of Ohio State:

    “Increased delays and added costs at U.S. airports due to new security procedures provide incentive for many short-haul passengers to drive to their destination rather than flying, and, since driving is far riskier than air travel, the extra automobile traffic generated has been estimated to result in 500 or more extra road fatalities per year.”


    Released April 2011

    I certainly don’t buy the “very warm weather” argument, not at a time when gas prices were at their highest across the country and individuals were cutting back on driving to save money.

  • lies, darn lies, statistics

    “the rate increased significantly to 1.10 fatalities per 100 million
    miles traveled, up from 0.98 fatalities per 100 million miles in the
    same period last year”
    This is a fatality RATE, not raw number of deaths. While we cannot blame the TSA for an increase in the rate, we can blame them for an increase in the number of miles traveled, thus an increase in number of deaths. To be more acceptable to others inclined to accept TSA, emphasize the raw figures, not the rate.

  • RonBonner

    Why would a person Opt In for a Sexual Assault Grope Down from a TSA employee? Are people really that desperate to fly on an airplane?
    I just completed a two week vacation, traveled 3,000 miles and not once did I step foot in an airport. I was able to travel with a full load of beverages, did not undergo any form of screening, did not have to tell a government clerk my name, nor did I have a government clerk feel me up.
    Folks, put off that trip. Avoid airports. Deprive the hospitality industry of your trade. It won’t take long for pressure to build on TSA to change these abusive screenings.

    • cjr001

      Even before TSA went from worse to even worse, the airlines were all but encouraging people to find other modes of transportation. So, no, I don’t believe many people really want to fly.

      But many if not most, whether it’s business or leisure, don’t have a choice. It’s been 2 years since I was able to take as many as 2 weeks off at a single time for vacation. I don’t know when I’ll be able to take that much time off again at once with my current job.

      So if you’re trying to go cross-country and actually want to see something within a week’s time (they’re called “flyover states” for a very good reason), well, flying is the only real option.

  • 1amWendy

    LOL Amy, you should have quoted yourself: here’s some detail, cited by you earlier (from Wikipedia) ”
    Unintended consequences of strict security
    Two studies by a group of Cornell University researchers have found that strict airport security has the unintended consequence of increasing road fatalities, as would-be air travelers decide to drive and are exposed to the far greater risk of dying in a car accident.[87][88]
    In 2005, the researchers looked at the immediate aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and found that the change in passenger travel modes led to 242 added driving deaths per month.[87] In all, they estimated that about 1,200 driving deaths could be attributed to the short-term effects of the attacks. The study attributes the change in traveler behavior to two factors: fear of terrorist attacks and the wish to avoid the inconvenience of strict security measures; no attempt is made to estimate separately the influence of each of these two factors.
    In 2007, the researchers studied specifically the effects of a change to security practices instituted by the TSA in late 2002. They concluded that this change reduced the number of air travelers by 6%, and estimated that consequently, 129 more people died in car accidents in the fourth quarter of 2002.[88] Extrapolating this rate of fatalities, New York Times contributor Nate Silver remarked that this is equivalent to “four fully loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.”[89]
    The 2007 study also noted that strict airport security hurts the airline industry; it was estimated that the 6% reduction in the number of passengers in the fourth quarter of 2002 cost the industry $1.1 billion in lost business.”

    The TSA can reasonably be charged with killing far more people than 9/11.