Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Road Deaths Are Up Thanks to the TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a well-meaning but terrible bother for travel. It isn't much more than security theater and is generally an example of lousy governance. See here for a run down of many complaints. There are many more. The TSA is supposed to save lives by making flying safer. But Charles Kenny argues that the TSA is killing more people than it potentially saves since many travelers avoid safe but inconvenient air travel for driving, which is far riskier. He also explains what a waste the program is. About the road deaths:
There is lethal collateral damage associated with all this spending on airline security—namely, the inconvenience of air travel is pushing more people onto the roads. Compare the dangers of air travel to those of driving. To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day. They also suggest that enhanced domestic baggage screening alone reduced passenger volume by about 5 percent in the five years after 9/11, and the substitution of driving for flying by those seeking to avoid security hassles over that period resulted in more than 100 road fatalities.
Just more reason to get rid of the TSA and develop smarter air security.

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