"The power of images to drive risk perception is particularly important in light of the media’s proven bias in covering causes of death." - David Gardner, The Science of Fear
Every single person in Washington can agree that the Metro accident in June was a terrible tragedy that deeply affected our area. We felt a lot of pain, worried about safety, all rightfully so.
I believe many of us here in the nation’s capital can also agree that in the weeks that followed, the local TV news just could not get enough of showing the pictures of the crashed cars. On and on it went, way past its usefulness to the public.
Lost in all this was how much safer rail is than driving. I never saw any comparisons until Greater Greater Washington, who do a great job of identifying the excesses and faulty ways of the media, wrote about it this week.
Some of the info they provided included the following:
According to the Coalition for Smarter Growth:
Nationwide, from 2004 to 2006, there were 94,101 vehicle (Passenger car, vans, SUVs and light truck) deaths. In the same time frame, 34 were killed on heavy rail.
And according to the Metro Washington Council of Governments:
From 2003 to 2007, there were 2,057 vehicle fatalities in Washington. From 2003 to 2007 there were none on Metro before the 9 deaths from the June accident on the Red Line.