Have a Safe Life
I’ve been flying a lot lately, and before every trip, it seems like many people urge me to “have a safe flight!” I often hear a note of trepidation in their voices, as though they believe I am about to do something with a significant risk potential. They probably know, on some level, that air travel is far safer than driving, but I don’t think most people realize just how much safer it is to fly than to drive.
So here it is, in simple terms: In 2019, commercial airline travelers experienced four (4) fatalities. In 2020, the number was zero (0). In 2019, over 36,000 people died in automobile accidents. In 2020, that number climbed to more than 38,000. Admittedly, there have been a number of stories in the news lately about passengers attacking flight attendants. They attack bus drivers as well, however, and so far no one has ever urged me to have a safe trip before I board a city bus.
I’ll admit that sometimes a plane can feel cramped, especially on a long flight. But in general, I enjoy the view if the cloud cover allows it. I can sink into a good book or binge-watch movies. But most important? I am pretty sure that no one on the plane has a gun. Sadly, I can no longer say that about almost any other activity in which I might engage, whether it’s buying groceries, going to a movie or concert, worshipping in a church or synagogue (in my case, Quaker meeting), or numerous other perfectly ordinary activities once considered low-risk.
So while I appreciate the thought behind the wish that I have a safe flight, I urge us all to think about ways to protect one another when we’re not on planes, whether that means enforcing speed limits, tightening drunk driving protections, or passing gun control legislation.
Then I could state sincerely my wish that everyone could “have a safe life.”