We all know that most things are pretty much out of our hands when we go to the airport. Our luggage might get rifled through during a search, our outfit could be ruined going through security, and there’s always the chance that one of our personal belongings will be lost or stolen.
Most people try to take any small measure they can to make sure their suitcase stays safe, and a luggage lock is usually the route most people go. If only it actually kept your stuff any safer.
To start, luggage locks are actually pretty easily opened.
You see, you have to have a TSA-approved lock on your bag in order to take it through the airport. The officers there will have a ring of master keys that can open any approved lock should they need to. However, after a photo of those keys appeared in The Washington Post, thieves actually made their own copies using 3D printers.
Thankfully, there are certain locks that can help prevent this by setting off an alert when they’re opened, which can only be turned off by someone with the code. However, a quick thief may be able to grab something and take off before you realize what’s going on, so even using this type of smart lock still requires some diligence on your part.
In fact, most luggage-related safety gadgets are foiled pretty easily.
There are devices that can help out with this by looping through both your suitcase’s zipper and around its handle, but even that won’t prevent theft. This device does make it so that a thief can’t re-zip your suitcase, which means you’ll know something is wrong faster, but it does nothing to prevent them from stealing in the first place.
There are quite a few safety measures TSA has put in place that don’t really protect us at all.
In 2005, a flight going to Mexico from Amsterdam had to turn around because, as it turns out, it was carrying two passengers who were on the no-fly list and the route took the flight into United States airspace.
It’s not even that hard to bypass the no-fly list, either.
Their correspondent claimed that both the ticketing and security agents barely paid attention to the fake license itself or any of the information it contained, and most didn’t even ask for the ID to be taken out of the correspondent’s wallet for a closer look.
The report from CBS says the license was examined approximately 20 times and was never called out as a fake. Senator Barbara Boxer of California said this was especially troubling if the FBI is relying largely on its list of known terrorists to keep airports safe. “If they can go ahead and change their names and get phony ID, we’re way behind the eight ball,” she said. “We’ll never catch them.”
Car and bike travel are pretty dangerous, too.
While anti-lock brakes have proven to make our cars stop faster and helmets have been proven to protect our heads during accidents, our own behaviors kind of mess it all up.
In a 10-year study done by the Highway Loss Data Institute, the organization found that having anti-lock brakes didn’t make someone less likely to be involved in a crash—in fact, it found that they’re actually 45 percent more likely to die in a crash if their car has an anti-lock brake system. Why? Because they often drive more aggressively, falsely believing that their brake system will offset any reckless driving they take part in.
The same thing goes for bikers, sort of. A researcher from Bath, England, found in 2006 that cyclists are actually more likely to get hit by a car while wearing a helmet. In fact, it’s estimated that drivers got 3.35 inches closer to cyclists when they were wearing some type of safety gear, helmets included.
Even speed limits don’t truly make a difference.
In 1995, the state of Montana conducted a test by removing all speed limit signs from every non-urban area in the entire state. After a couple of years, they were able to deduce that, on the roads that had their speed limit signs removed, the fatality rate didn’t increase one bit.
In fact, after the state finally introduced new speed limit regulations throughout all of Montana, the rate of fatal accidents on interstates actually went up by 111 percent.