Drunk Drivers More Likely To Crash Airplanes

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Surprise, surprise. Pilots who have drunk-driving convictions are more prone to aircraft accidents, but a new study has quantified the link. If you have a DWI, you are 43 percent more likely to be involved in an air crash, according to a study of 300,000 pilot records by Johns Hopkins researchers. "If the crash risk for pilots with a DWI history could be reduced to the same level as their counterparts without a DWI history, then approximately 25 fewer aviation crashes would happen each year," Dr. Guohua Li told News-Medical.net. That would seem to validate the FAA requirement, instituted in 1990, that pilots report all DWIs within 60 days of conviction. Or does it? The study also concluded that 99 percent of the pilots with DWI records flew safely and that it's extremely rare for alcohol to be cited as a contributing cause of a crash. It's never been an issue in major airline crashes and only three of 108 pilots who have died in commuter or air taxi accidents had measurable alcohol in their systems. Other factors could be at play, however. Those with drunk-driving convictions are more likely to be chronic drinkers, with the resulting impact on brain function and performance. They may also just be bigger risk-takers and less concerned about weather and safety rules, the study said.