After work you stop by a bar to unwind and throw back a few drinks. Then you climb into your car and don't bother buckling your seatbelt. It only dings at you for a minute, until it silences. Your low tire pressure light illuminates, but it's been like that for years. One day you'll get it fixed. You still have some tread on at least two of your tires. No sense replacing them until you have to. You'll get it all checked out the first chance you get. You back out of your parking spot feeling the warmth of your alcohol, finally relaxed from your long day, and head home. Your wife would be furious if you're late, but you've learned a shortcut through a residential area. Doing 45 in a 25 mile per hour zone, running stop signs because most families are having dinner at this time nobody is on this road, you pull into your driveway. You've made it! This pattern of drinking, driving a car that needs work, no seatbelts, and speeding in an area that puts others at risk, has been ongoing for three years and you have never had an accident.
How Safe Are You?
A few facts about fatigue and alcohol: If you are a 160 pound man who has had two drinks, that will put you over the FAA Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) regulation of .04%. If you have three three drinks you'll be up to .08% for men and a 140 pound woman will have a BCL of .11%. What if the same individuals had four drinks? Men and women would have a BAL of .11% and .15% respectively.
This is significant because pilots are flying fatigued. Pilots are being pushed beyond limits of legal alcohol consumption. Research identifies that seventeen hours awake is equivalent to a BAL of .05%, 21 hours awake is equivalent to a BAL of .08%, and 24 hours awake is equivalent to BAL of .10%. It appears that "pilot pushing" is nothing short of downing 2-4 drinks prior to short final.
Combine fatigue with substandard training, negative safety culture, and lack of systems understanding. How safe is this industry? My doctoral research spoke volumes. While very few dissertations are read, I turned my dissertation into a book: Normalization of Deviance, A Threat to Aviation Safety.
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