How Safe Is Flying? The Evolution of Aviation Safety


Given the amount of airplane accidents dominating national news networks, many people are questioning how safe air travel is. Recent stories would suggest that air travel is becoming more dangerous, when in reality, it is becoming safer. Both commercial and non-commercial flights have seen a substantial drop in airplane accidents. Our below infographic highlights how commercial and non-commercial airplane accidents have diminished over time.

Hover over the maps below to see how many airplane accidents occurred for the corresponding year.


As you can see, the number of airplane accidents has drastically decreased over the past 40 years, even as the total amount of airline travelers has increased. An airplane accident is defined as, “An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft that takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked…or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.”

In 1974, there were a total of 4,147 plane accidents in the United States. By 1994, that total number dropped to 1,915, which amounts to a 53.9% overall decrease in airplane accidents.

In 2014, the number of airplane accidents totaled 1,025, a 46.5% decrease from the total number of accidents in 1994. In addition to seeing a large improvement in airplane accidents, 2014 also boasts the lowest amount of flight accidents in aviation history (international).  The IATA’s 2014 safety performance report notes there was approximately one accident per every 4.4 million flights. These numbers are extremely low, especially in comparison to other forms of transportation.

This decrease in airplane accidents can be largely attributed to enhanced technology and aircraft design, which are regulated by the FAA. Approximately 8 million people fly on commercial flights every day. Therefore, the FAA is continuously creating new safety features to implement in commercial airplanes, as well as training courses for pilots.

Recent years have seen a large number of technological advancements, aimed solely at decreasing the number of plane accidents that occur each year. Our infographic below highlights some of the major improvements made to commercial planes and the commercial airline industry.

Here you can see the most innovative safety additions to commercial airplanes and the commercial airline industry.


Although safety features continue to improve commercial air travel, there is still a small chance of a malfunction. If you have lost a loved one, or have been injured in a plane accident or crash, contact the aviation attorneys with Slack & Davis. Our aviation lawyers possess the knowledge needed to assist your family with getting the compensation you deserve.

Contact our offices at 1-800-455-8686.