Fact Checking 9/11

More people died in motor vehicle accidents on 9/11 than died in the terrorist attack that day.
My response:

I [...] hate to fact-check you[,] but Wikipedia claims total motor vehicle deaths for the entire US was 42,196 for 2001, which works out to 811 per week, or 115.6 per day. Even if we round up, we'd have to assume that day to statistically have been exceptionally bad to account for almost an average month's worth of motor vehicle deaths through the entire country. (I couldn't find per-week statistics for motor vehicle deaths for the time period surrounding 9/11, as I'd expect them to be higher since nobody could fly for two days and many more people ended up on the road -- plus even more people were irrationally scared off of flying and ended up driving for weeks, or months, afterwards).

(Also I see that the total motor vehicle death toll for 2001 was lower than both 2000 AND 2002.)

What would be more interesting would be to see if you could correlate the increase in highway deaths to the costly and intrusive security theatre that the US has indulged in since then with a proportionate drop in flying, since if someone drives rather than flies, they are statistically more likely to be hurt (air travel is still has the lowest fatalities-per-passenger-mile-traveled) and compare THAT increased number to the 9/11 death toll (and then compare that number to the costs spent on security theatre, essentially calculating how much the US is spending per death to kill more of its citizens).

I'm not trying to disagree with you, I think it is high time the western world got over this stupid obsession. However in the long run, facts will beat hyperbole.

Worldwide, not US, but point taken.
My response:

Wikipedia again: It is often reported that air travel is the safest in terms of deaths per passenger mile. The National Transportation Safety Board (2006) reports 1.3 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles for travel by car, and 1.7 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles for travel by air. These are not passenger miles. If an airplane has 100 passengers, then the passenger miles are 100 times higher. The number of deaths per passenger mile on commercial airlines in the United States between 1995 and 2000 is about 3 deaths per 10 billion passenger miles.

Yahoo! Answers, quoting WebMD: There are about 56 million deaths each year worldwide. About 1.7 million are the result of traffic accidents. That would mean the percent of deaths around the world annually as a result of traffic accidents is about 3%.

Assuming these figures are correct, then that gives an average daily death toll of motor vehicles as 4657 (call it 4700). So world wide, your argument probably holds.

SkyscraperCity: The Geneva-based organization said 1,292 people died in plane crashes in 2006 -- a drop of 11 percent on the previous year.

It occurs to me that neither value can seriously be compared unless we see the passenger-mile-traveled for both types of transport.

But I think I'm beating a dead horse here, so I'm off.