Saturday, November 27, 2010

The TSA Probably Kills More People Than They Save

At least according to Steve Horowitz

As the nation readies for one of the busiest traveling holidays, Steven Horwitz, a professor of economics at St. Lawrence University, told The Hill that the probable spike in road travel, caused by adverse feelings towards the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new screening procedures, could also lead to more car-related deaths.

“Driving is much more dangerous than flying, as you are far more likely to be killed in an automobile accident mile-for-mile than you are in an airplane,” said Horwitz. “The result will be that the new TSA procedures will kill more Americans on the highway.”

I don't doubt that since 9-11 the TSA's intrusive screening procedures have encouraged more Americans to drive to their destinations rather than fly. The question is, on the margin, how many more fatal accidents resulted from the choice to drive instead of fly? If we've hit diminishing marginal returns to safety from the TSA then when did we pass the optimal level of airport security?

1 comment:

  1. We can't know what the optimal level of airport security is without the free market profit/loss signal. Also, privatizing airports and airport security would give people more choice.