The same guys who projected a Y2K total-arnarchy-black-out, also forecasted during the mid to late 90s, that by now, due to the general rise in air traffic, we would have a major crash almost every week.
Well, a) I'm not sure who these "same guys" are, b) as I recall the prediction was made in the 1980's, not the mid to late 90's, and c) the prediction was based on nothing being done to fix or upgrade the air travel system in this country. It was a prediction that was made in order to spur changes in the system, as an overhaul of the ATC system was in the works but was progressing through the FAA and congress quite slowly at the time. Partly because of predictions like this one, though, much was done to improve all facets of air safety, from finally overhauling the ATC system to vastly upgrading aircraft avionics and flight control systems, to revising FARs and other regulations to promote air safety.
It's because of those changes that we've got such excellent safety these days even despite a big increase in air traffic.
As for the original question, I can remember in the 1980's it seemed like there was a major crash about once a month. Nowadays, major air crashes are few and far between. The statistics bear this out. There have not been an inordinate number of crashes lately, it's just that every little Cessna accident seems to get discussed to death around here (I wish we could stick to talking about airliners), and small private planes have always been much more likely to be involved in accidents than airliners. It's just that prior to the popularity of the internet, you didn't hear about these much.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!