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Death, transportation, and travel (UK)

Clinical bottom line

The risks associated with transport in the UK, based on relative traffic and the number of miles or kilometers travelled every year, confirm that train and plane are much safer than cars. The lifetime risk of dying in a transportbaccident is about 1 in 250.


Data sources

What the sources tell us

They provide information to allow calculation of risk of death according to the number of miles or kilometers travelled by the average person each year.

Give us the odds

Table 1 shows the data in terms of an annual risk of dying, and in terms of a lifetime risk assuming a 75 year life expectancy.

Road is much more risky than train or plane. Figure 1 shows the lifetime risk of various sorts of travel.

Table 1: Relative annual and lifetime transport risk in UK, based on relative traffic andnkilometers travelled

Cause of death
Deaths

Relative traffic

(100 million vehicle kilometers)

Crude rate per 100 million vehicle kilometers

Odds of dying in average year

(1 in )

Lifetime odds (75 yr)

(1 in )

All transport
3,555
7,970
0.45
19,327
258
Motor vehicle
3,389
7,320
0.46
30,967
413
Car
1,612
6,780
0.24
73,198
976
Motorcyclist
599
60
9.98
286,191
3,816
Cyclist
146
40
3.65
761,035
10,147
Airline
25
99
0.25
4,082,474
54,433
Train
10
520
0.019
9,848,485
131,313

 

Figure 1: Lifetime risk of dying according to various forms of transport

Risk Communication Tool (c) John Paling 2000 (www.riskcomm.com)

Comment

It makes you think, especially when the lifetime risk of dying in a transport accident is about 1 in 250.