Mr. Card states, "It is not impossible that more Americans have died because useless airport harassment has pushed them out onto the highway than died in the events of September 11th." This statement struck me as somewhat far fetched. Impossible? No. Improbable? Yes.
In 1999, there were 41,611 fatalities (all numbers courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation) involving automobiles. The rate was 15 per billion vehicle miles traveled. There were nearly 2.7 trillion vehicle miles traveled. Assuming a rate of increase of 3% per year, that would be about 2.85 trillion vehicle miles traveled in the past year.
In order to have an additional 3,000 (approx.) deaths on the roads in the past year, there would have to be an additional 200 billion vehicle miles (assuming that the rate stayed at 15 per billion) traveled. That's roughly a 7% increase. Add that to the 3% additional vehicle miles traveled from natural growth, and you're talking a 10% increase in vehicle miles traveled.
To look at it another way, to go from roughly 42,000 deaths to 45,000 deaths on the road in one year would cause dozens of organizations to be reduced to a state of near apoplexy. Then they'd be calling for people's heads.
Even assuming that you could get another 200 billion vehicle miles traveled onto the roads without causing major traffic jams, who's to say that it's the "useless airport harassment" that has pushed them onto the highways, and not fear or some other motivating factor.
Also, if people who used to fly are foregoing their flights and driving instead, they're more than likely driving on the interstates where the fatality rate is lower - 12.3 per billion on rural interstates, 6.1 per billion on urban interstates. Therefore, it would take even more cars to somehow have the number of highway deaths increase by 3,000.
Why do I give a damn about this? 3,000 people died in one day a year ago. Mr. Card is trying to use their deaths to make a point regarding his annoyance with the current state of airline travel? It's not the first time he's bitched and moaned about this. We know it annoys him. But if you're going to exaggerate, please show a little more respect.