Lifestyle & Belief

Car pollution twice as deadly as car crashes, study says


Motorists sit stuck in the morning gridlock at one of Jakarta's main roads on September 22, 2010.


Bay Ismoyo

If you have a fear of flying, people often reassure you that driving a car is much more dangerous than riding on an airplane.

But it turns out that breathing in air from cars and airplanes is yet even worse. 

Traffic pollution is twice as deadly as traffic accidents in the United Kingdom, a new study has found

The study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, found that 5,000 people prematurely die in the United Kingdom each year just from United Kingdom traffic pollution. An additional 2,000 deaths are caused each year from airplane exhaust, BBC News reported

In London, 2,200 deaths can be attributed to United Kingdom combustion emissions. In addition, another 3,160 deaths in London can be blamed on combustion pollution that originated outside of the UK, according to study figures

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Meanwhile, in 2010, 1,850 people in the UK died due to road accidents, the BBC reported.

The BBC notes that the report is in line with a 2010 study, which found that all pollution (not just traffic pollution) caused 29,000 deaths in the UK in 2008.

Another report from 2010 put pollution deaths even higher, at 50,000 a year, which means that pollution would be causing "more deaths than passive smoking, road accidents or obesity and costing the economy £20 billion a year," the London Evening Standard reported at the time.  

The latest study found that vehicle emissions are more deadly than industrial pollution.

"Cars and lorries emit right by where people live and work and so have a greater impact," study author Steven Barrett told the BBC