Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Full Body Scanner Deaths

Some quick back of the envelope calculations suggest that full-body scanners, if fully implemented across all airports, will cost 3 people their lives this Thanksgiving travel season.

Assuming that half of those who disapprove of full-body scanners decide to drive instead of fly, there will be 1.86 billion more miles driven this Thanksgiving than would otherwise happen. Assuming that full body scanners make no impact on flight safety, the extra danger of driving those miles will result in three more driving fatalities than would have happened otherwise. If full body scanners actually reduce airline fatalities, the marginal death rate from driving would be even higher.

For the full calculations, see the spreadsheet.


Travis Hendricks said...

Wow that's crazy. I never thought about it that way. Good thing I'm flying to Tucson for Thanksgiving.

JJ Hendricks said...

Unintended consequences. I wonder if half of the people who disapprove won't fly? Seems pretty reasonable to me, but would be interesting to see numbers from a poll about if body scanners will change people's flying patterns.

I bet data like that will come out soon.

mndrix said...

A related article from the New York Times