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The safest mode of transport



  •  Despite the dry statistics, people always remain unconvinced and think that the safest transport in the world is land. In reality, this is not at all the case, but the frequent and terrible accidents associated with aviation have settled in the minds of hundreds of thousands of people. Some are so afraid of flying that there is even a corresponding phobia, it is called "aerophobia".

  •  This article will answer the question of what is the safest mode of transport, based on unbiased data from the United States and Russia.

The safest mode of transport according to statistics over the past 10 years

  •  The total death toll is not a good measure of whether one public transport is safer than another. This is because vehicles that are used more frequently can cause more accidents than those that are used less frequently.

  •  A good way to find the safest mode of transport in the world is to compare the number of injured and killed passengers with the distance traveled by a particular vehicle.

  •  The United States has statistics on deaths by passenger miles. Here's how to calculate a passenger mile – this is 1 person who moved a mile (1,61 km) on one or another vehicle.

Statistics of deaths in transport for 2010-2019

  • According to data collected by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) for 2010-2019, the safest transport was air – but not private jets, but commercial aviation. The casualty rate per million passenger miles was 0.002.
  • Buses are second in safety (0.14 deaths per million passenger miles).
  • And closes the top three train safety leaders – 0.31 deaths per million passenger miles.

  •  But riding motorcycles is the most dangerous thing. For every million passenger miles, there are 212 American motorcyclist deaths.

  •  Russia has its own statistics that take into account the total number of deaths, without recalculating the distance traveled.

The number of deaths in accidents with vehicles

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
on railway transport - 2 8 3 - 3 1 3 1 1
in road transport, thous. 28 27 27 23.1 20.3 19.1 18.2 17 16.2 14.9
in maritime transport 10 1 2 12 9 6 6 16 5 3
in water transport 1 11 3 5 2 2 1 3 2 -
in air transport 90 102 59 60 59 50 128 70 35 71
According to Rostransnadzor, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Rosaviatsia.
  • According to this indicator, road transport is the leader – 210,8 thousand people.
  • Flying by air is much safer – 724 deaths in the last 10 years.
  • Maritime transport is considered even safer (70 dead).
  • The safest were inland water transport and rail transport – 30 and 22 dead passengers, respectively.

7. Motorcycles and mopeds

Motorcycles and mopeds are the most dangerous mode of transport

  •  They are in last place in the ranking of the safest transport in 2023 by passenger miles (212 deaths).

  •  But in the total number of fatal accidents over the past 10 years, according to the United States, motorcycles and mopeds are inferior to cars – 49 deaths against 067, respectively.

6. Freight transport

Freight transport

  •  According to American statistics, vans, pickups and other vehicles with a wheelbase of more than 300 cm in 10 years accounted for 97 deaths. For heavy freight transport – 067 victims.

  •  If we take the mortality data by passenger miles, then the picture is as follows – 9.3 victims per million passenger miles in light trucks and 2.6 deaths under the wheels of heavy trucks.

  •  According to Russian statistics, freight transport accounts for 9% of the total number of accidents.

5. Cars

Cars are not the safest mode of transport according to statistics.

  •  There are a lot (over 1,2 billion cars) in the world and 95% of them are cars. No wonder they are one of the most dangerous modes of transport.

  •  According to statistics, cars accounted for 125 deaths between 725 and 2010, and that's just in the US. According to passenger-miles – 2019 fatal accidents for every million miles.

  •  In Russia – 210,8 thousand dead, all road transport on the roads and streets of the country was taken into account.

4. Water transport (boats, boats, yachts, ships)

Water transport

  •  One of the safest modes of transport (70 deaths in maritime transport and 30 in inland water transport). In the US, only cases on ferries were counted – 0.89 for every million passenger miles, or 4 people for total deaths.

3. Railway transport (trains, trams, metro)

Railway transport

  •  In Russia, public rail transport has the fewest fatalities in the past 10 years, at 22. The US has more, at 57. Or 0.31 deaths per million passenger miles.

2. Buses


  •  US statistics give 0.14 deaths per million passenger miles over the past 1 years, or 10 people in total.

  •  Russian statistics from RIA Novosti (not ten years old, since there is no separate sample for buses) show that only in the largest accidents involving buses in 2021, 24 people died, and in 2020 – 26 people.

1. Aircraft

Airplane is the safest mode of transport in the world

  •  If we consider only fatalities, we clearly see that the largest proportion is in ground vehicles. Trains, planes and water transport have much lower numbers. At the same time, private jets are significantly different in safety from commercial aircraft, they kill 100 times more people.

  •  The statistical probability of dying while traveling by air is 1:8 million. From the fact that only 2010 people (or 2019 people per million passenger miles) died in commercial aviation in the United States in 16-0.002, it becomes clear how much this transport is safe. During this period, more than 100 million aircraft sorties were made in America.

  •  In Russia, other statistics – 724 people in 10 years.

Why is the plane the safest mode of transport?

Aircraft undergo rigorous pre-flight training, are constantly modified, and their safety is enhanced by new developments. Pilots go through a medical examination before each flight and receive full information about the weather on the route, wind speed and direction, possible turbulence, the best route, alternate aerodrome, etc.

  •  And there is also a big difference in mileage between land transport and aircraft. Therefore, an "accident-free day" in aviation is of greater importance in calculating safety.