Pilots with DWIs more likely to crash

How can you tell if a pilot is likely to be involved in an airplane crash? According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, it could be as simple as determining if that pilot has a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated. According to a recently completed study, a pilot with a DWI in his or her past is 43% more likely to have an aviation accident than a pilot who has never had a DWI.

The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, followed more than 300,000 pilots with Class III medical certificates over a seven-year period.

The researchers found that a DWI history was most common among male pilots between the ages of 25 and 44. Researchers suggested that behavioral factors, such as poor decision-making skills, that can lead to driving while intoxicated might carry over into the flying world.

Since 1990, pilot applicants in the United States have been required to undergo a background check to determine their DWI history. Pilots who are convicted of DWI are required by law to report the conviction to the FAA within 60 days.

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