Perception or Fact?

A few days ago, I had a conversation with someone who had a mop of shining silver hair, bushy eyebrows and the remnants of a luxurious mustache. His eyes creased as he smiled (I can remember all of this about him, but can’t really remember who it was.) Shelving my memory for a second, lets talk about traveling. He opined that traveling these days was more dangerous than a century or 150 years ago because there weren’t this many accidents then.

I pondered about what he said for a moment and disagreed on two counts. Firstly, travel was not that frequent over a century ago. I have stories handed down from my father as to how travel entailed the preparation of a life event  even though it was only a few villages away.  Mental note to self: I should write about it someday.

Secondly, there were probably as many accidents involving horse carriages and wagons slipping off roads, or bullock carts stuck in flooding river waters.

Without a news feed tirelessly collating incidents from around the World and television and the web feeding you non-stop images of the accident site, no one thought that way.

I said that, but the thought has been sown in my mind. Look at the number of large accidents in the past 3 weeks.

Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash landed in SFO

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2013/07/06/airline-crash-san-francisco/2495099/

A few days later, we had this plane land nose-down in La Guardia Airport

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/nyregion/plane-landed-at-la-guardia-nose-gear-first.html?_r=0

Followed by this Boeing 737 that blew out its tires and crash landed in O’Hare Airport.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/29/americanairlines-tires-idUSL1N0FZ19220130729?feedType=RSS&feedName=marketsNews&rpc=43

As if Ground Transportation wanted to prove a point and not let Aviation hog the limelight, a few days ago, two trains collided head on in Switzerland.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/switzerland-train-crash-drivers-body-recovered-after-disaster-leaves-26-injured-8737311.html

This comes soon after a train accident in Spain:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/slideshows/nation-world/recent-deadly-train-accidents-in-europe/slideshow/21483192.cms

Are accidents more frequent or are we simply hearing of it more often after the Asiana Airlines crash landed in San Francisco airport?

PS: I don’t why I put up a morbid post today. It is the mood people, the mood 😦

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7 thoughts on “Perception or Fact?”

  1. I think over-reliance on technology may be to blame, but then look at Uttarakhand!
    I agree with you though; travelling for pleasure just wasn’t done that often earlier so we cannot do a fair comparison!

    1. Very interesting point Roshni. Actually I remember the conversation moving towards more accidents now because of technology and how we rely on it.
      Having said that, do you believe in fate or destiny? I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

      1. I find its rarely the technology itself that is to blame, its the evolved monkey behind it that’s the cause.

        In my opinion the perception of a higher number of accidents are a factor of:
        – the constant search for sensationalist news by news agencies as every incident is reported in minute detail as if it is the start of Armageddon
        – more reporting. In the past, the accident in Spain would have been reported by local newspapers and would hardly have made it out of Spain.
        – speed: news and indeed people travel faster than ever before. If anyone says there were no accidents when cars topped out at 40mph or when they travelled on bullock carts, the answer would be a resounding no! People didn’t get injured as much and if even if they took a tumble, they got up, dusted their backsides off and went about their business again. Now, for every fall, we have an ambulance chaser looking for ‘whiplash’ injuries and a lawsuit, so people cry a lot more when they fall!
        – there’s a lot more to bump into. Look at the per capita accident statistic and it would have fallen over the years.

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