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More deaths on highways than in airline crashes

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Mar 19, 2014 - 3:05 PM |
Without question or argument, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 Flight MH370 en route to China is not only an international disaster but also a complete and total mystery as of time of writing.

It smacks of intrigue, suspicion with an element of James Bond thrown in for good measure. Besides the obvious human cost and impact on the families, friends and associates of the 237 passengers and crew, there is the horrendous cost of the several aircraft and ships engaged in a mammoth search over vast ocean stretches and forests.

The magnitude of this aircraft event must not be understated. However, compare this event to the number of vehicular highway fatalities that occur across Canada on average each year.

The latest statistic that I could find for Canada was for 2009, when 2,209 deaths were reported on our highways. In 1973 it was a startling 6,706, and for the USA in 2012 a staggering 34,080 deaths.

So to try to make a comparison, the equivalent of 9.3 Malaysian Airlines disasters occurred on Canadian Highways in 2009, and for the USA there was the equivalent of 28.3.

Although it is of international importance and concern that the demise of the Malaysian Airlines 777 be of front page interest, the highway fatalities and carnage occurring on our highways only rates at best a couple of inches in local newspapers.

It seems that the general public and the media attach little or no significance to the fact that the equivalent of more than nine major air disasters occurs on our highways each and every year.

Considerable sums of money are devoted to making air travel safer than safe and immense effort is placed on finding the causes and cures for air crashes and airline disasters. Yet rarely is there ever an inquest or public inquiry into any highway fatality, no matter how serious.

There is precious little effort to establish the true causes of such fatalities, and all too often they are brushed off as driver error.

Time to ask some very serious questions.

Lionel W. F. Rudd
Greater Sudbury

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