7:07 PM - How the TSA Kills Hundreds of People Every Year
Not only is there an absence of evidence that the TSA saves lives, there is evidence that it may actually cause a significant number of deaths. In one paper, economists Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali, and Daniel Simon estimated that, all other factors held constant, baggage screening procedures implemented after 9/11 reduced passenger volume by 6 percent overall and by 9 percent on planes departing from the nation's 50 busiest airports. Interestingly, the study also found that the introduction of federalized passenger screening did not significantly reduce passenger volume. The authors integrated these results with those of an earlier paper they had written on the direct effect of 9/11 on reducing airline travel and increasing driving and, therefore, deaths in auto accidents. The authors concluded that, over a three-month period, approximately 129 individuals died in automobile accidents which resulted from travelers substituting driving for flying in response to inconvenience associated with baggage screening.
As one commentator starkly noted, this figure when annualized is "the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year." While one may quibble with the precise figures, a number of studies in the wake of 9/11 has confirmed the link between a reduction in airline passenger volume and an increase in driving and, inevitably, the number of fatalities from auto accidents.