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On Do you feel safe on rides at the fair?

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Ron Holzwarth 8 months, 2 weeks ago

That really is an interesting question. It's all about real risk versus perceived risk. People are not rational about a lot of things, and many of us cannot relate statistical risks to perceived risks. For instance, many people are too terrified to ever take a flight in a jumbo jet, but then they don't think twice about driving on the highway.

Here's a couple facts: KCI aka MCI has been in operation for 40 years now, and the number of paying passengers that have been killed on jumbo jet flights to or from MCI has been carefully tallied over those four decades, and tens of thousands of flights. It is equal to 0, which is sometimes spelled zero. But it is totally different if you count the number of people who were killed while driving to or from MCI. That number is probably in the dozens over those 40 years.

It is true that there are some fatalities on carnival rides, and they make national news every single time. But they are very rare, probably less than 5 per year, compared with the approximately 43,000 people that are killed in car accidents in the United States every year. That's over 117 every day, or about 5 per hour, or one about every 12 minutes. Virtually none of them make national news because those accidents are so tragically common. Almost every single one of us has lost more than a few people that we care about to car accidents. But very few people ever knew anyone that was killed on a carnival ride.

Carnival rides are designed by experts to seem very dangerous, but they certainly are not, the designs are specifically tailored to cater to your perception of danger, just to seem very daring and frightening. But, if they are maintained and operated correctly, they are not dangerous at all!

So, get on any carnival ride you want without a second thought, and get a fright without any actual danger at all. But when you're in a car, drive very carefully, and always be sure to wear your seat belt.

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