Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Safety Briefing

Here's one that absolutely slays me. This occurred to me as I was watching the BA safety video (the comedy one with all the great British actors) for about the 100th time. Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic, and I laughed a lot, at least the first dozen times.

Anyway, I just looked it up, and humans of Earth take 3.1 billion flights per year – each passenger watching an aircraft safety briefing each time, for 3.1 billion viewings. If it's (conservatively) three minutes long, that's 17,682 years of people's lives spent on aircraft safety briefings, per year.

However, no one dies in aircraft accidents. Not relatively few, or virtually none. Literally NO ONE:

2017 safest year on record for commercial passenger air travel

Airlines recorded zero accident deaths in commercial passenger jets last year. The fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights is one fatal accident for every 16 million flights. There were no commercial passenger jet fatalities in 2017.

You couldn't get out of the bathtub 16 million times without killing yourself. Air travel is one of the most completely and utterly safe activities imaginable. And, in the past, when there have been air crash fatalities, it's almost always the plane crashing on take-off, instantly killing everyone on board – a circumstance where absolutely nothing in the safety briefing will help you in any conceivable way.

However: 1.25 million people are killed in motor vehicle crashes every year – with another 20-50 million injured or disabled. (In the US, that's 37,133 dead, about 200,000 hospitalised, and 2.5 million injured badly enough to need treatment in emergency rooms. Per year.) Almost anything you do wrong behind the wheel, even for a second, can get you and everyone around you killed; there are probably at least three dozen little things you need to pay attention to and do right, or attention to which can help prevent a crash. Not one of those drivers gets a safety briefing. Ever. Maybe one in high school if they took driver's ed. (In fact, no such short, comprehensive safety briefing even exists. I know, because I tried hard to find one – and ultimately had to research and write one myself.)

This system is absolutely and utterly absurd. In fact, it would be improved infinitely (literally infinitely, saving some number of lives, probably a huge number, versus saving zero lives), if everyone who flew instead got a driving safety briefing.


  danger     driving  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs

ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eleven - Deathmatch by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Twelve - Carnage by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Thirteen - The Siege by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Fourteen - Endgame by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Fickisms
ARISEN : Odyssey
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