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A. A Proposed FAA Regulation May Do More Harm than Good

Narrator: This is Science Today. A proposed Federal Aviation Administration regulation that would require child restraint seats on commercial airlines for children under the age of two would likely cause more deaths than it prevents. Thomas Newman, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, says that's because parents may choose to drive instead of fly.

Newman: The concern is if parents have to pay for a ticket, depending on how much the ticket costs and how long the trip is, they might choose to drive rather than fly.

Narrator: Per mile, driving is riskier than flying, so Newman says the regulation could cause more deaths from road traffic accidents than it prevents from airplane crashes.

Newman: We estimated that the risk per mile traveled of these families with small children was only thirty percent of the national average of risk per mile traveled. But still, even taking that into account, if more than about five to ten percent of those chose to drive rather than fly, then the deaths on the road exceed those prevented.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.