The past 10 years have been the best in the country’s aviation history with 153 fatalities. That’s two deaths for every 100 million passengers on commercial flights, according to an Associated Press analysis of government accident data.
The improvement is remarkable. Just a decade earlier, at the time the safest, passengers were 10 times as likely to die when flying on an American plane. The risk of death was even greater during the start of the jet age, with 1,696 people dying — 133 out of every 100 million passengers — from 1962 to 1971. The figures exclude acts of terrorism.
Sitting in a pressurized, aluminum tube seven miles (11 kilometers) above the ground may never seem like the most-natural thing. But consider this: You are more likely to die driving to the airport than flying across the U.S. There are more than 30,000 motor-vehicle deaths each year, a mortality rate eight times greater than that in planes.