Is sitting in the back of the plane safer than in the front?

It might seem like whether a passenger sits in the front of an airplane or in the back won’t affect their chances of surviving a crash, because if the plane is going down, you’re screwed either way. But people do have their preferences, and on a recent 20/20, Gena Binkley and John Stossel (possessor of one good-lookin’ mustache) investigated whether those preferences really make sense. So do they? Is the back really safer than the front? ABC News has the scoop:

“‘I’ve heard this myth so many times and there’s just nothing to support it,’ said Nora Marshall of the National Transportation Safety Board. She has spent 24 years investigating plane crash survivability at the NTSB.”

An aviation analyst added: “We’ve got as many people who’ve gotten out of a front section of a jetliner as they have gotten out of the rear section… The best place, if there is a best place, would probably be next to the emergency exit, but even that isn’t proven out.”

And what about that bit of “common sense” that if there’s a plane crash, you’re out of luck no matter what?

“‘Even in the accidents that involve fire and major structural damage and, and include injuries, we still see that more people survive than are killed in the accident,’ Marshall said. She and her colleagues at the NTSB issued a report [pdf] that found that in most plane accidents in the United States, the majority of passengers on board survive.”

Check out this web video for the full investigation.

Personally, I’ve always heard that the drive to the airport is more dangerous than the flight itself, so I always become inexplicably nervous about the drive to the airport. Go figure.