Trying to relate exposure to risk while engaging in skydiving activities (on plane/ in freefall/ canopy flight/ landing) to driving is tough to do. I've seen some data on fatalities per 1,000 participants that compared boxing, mountain climbing, skydiving, and driving (among other things) on a Ga Tech web page. I'm not sure that the comparison based strictly on # of participants is very valuable.
I'm not an economist, but we were kicking around the driving vs. skydiving argument for a while at school the other day.
One point that economists might argue is that for most of us, skydiving yields little utility compared to driving.
With the possible exception of a few professionals, most of us could give up skydiving tomorrow and our lives would not be affected other than on a recreational/ social level.
On the other hand if we were to give up driving, our lives would be seriously changed. Most of us have to drive to maintain the standard of living that we expect. The suburbs don't work unless everyone drives. Going to work, meeting to meeting, groceries, soccer practice, school, etc.
I think that the difference is important to note:
I take risks driving to work every day because I have to. I take risks skydiving because I enjoy skydiving.
For this reason I agree with kallend when he writes that "Not only is skydiving not comparable with driving risk, it's in a different league altogether"
Knowing that skydiving is a risky sport that we engage in voluntarily should keep us on our toes. We should fight-off complacency when we make decisions regarging factors that are under our control. Packing, attention to spot, exit order, wing loading, cypres use, etc.