Every time an airplane takes off a flight attendant walks passengers through each of those questions. While your safety is a priority for the airline, much of what you see and hear is a result of FAA mandates. The government helps (tells) airlines how best to keep you safe.
You know where the exit rows are, your seat belt is properly fastened and you know how to wear an oxygen mask. You are ready for whatever aviation emergency comes your way. Chances are one won’t.
Airplane fatalities happen less often in America than vehicle fatalities per million miles traveled (risk: 0.8 vs 6.8) . This isn’t due to copious safety restrictions placed on passengers, it’s because planes just don’t crash as often. Pilots, mechanics and flight controllers are professionals who have one job: keep planes from crashing while they go from A-to-B.
Drivers are not pilots.
I’m picking up a rental car when I land. The last time I received a vehicle safety talk was 1997, when I took the written portion of my driving test. I’m certain the rental agency will not walk me through features on the unfamiliar vehicle I’ll be picking up. Nor will anyone provide me safety advice when driving in this part of America (California).
Unlike an airplane, vehicles don’t have attendants to remind them to adjust their mirrors or position themselves the proper distance from the steering wheel. No one will be sitting in the passenger seat at the rental lot telling me to stow any loose objects that could become death-delivery projectiles or distracted driving temptations. This is all up to me, the driver, a person who likely hasn’t had a vehicle safety anything in years.
I find it admirable (and adorable) that airlines put such a focus on educating passenger on safety, when there are so few aviation emergencies where safety know-how will save lives.
If your plane is plummeting towards the ground or a victim of a mid-air collision, chances are identifying exit rows and properly fastened seat belts won’t protect you from a flesh-devouring fireball or 20 tons of metal hitting the ground at terminal velocity.
The FAA may disagree but a more effective safety message would be to have flight attendants provide passengers safe driving tips. Before they step off the plane tell them how many unrestrained vehicle fatalities there are each year.
“Thank you for flying with us. And remember, in a vehicle the seat belt sign is always on. Safe travels.”
There will never be an attendant at the rental car exit reminding us to adjust the mirrors, check the tire pressure or become familiar with the vehicle controls. Instead most people jump into a car and drive, overlooking the smaller safety items.
Unfortunately sometimes these small safety items can mean the difference between life and death.