Cause for Alarm? First Aviation Accident Attributed to Texting

by Carmen Dellutri on April 26, 2013

Distracted driving The dangers of distraction are not limited to the road. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently concluded that texting was one of the causes behind a 2011 fatal helicopter accident.

The medical helicopter crashed with four people aboard after running out of fuel just short of the airport. The pilot failed to conduct flight safety checks, which would have revealed his helicopter was low on fuel. After he discovering the situation, he made the fatal decision to continue with the last leg of the flight.

According to the NTSB, the pilot’s poor decision-making was attributed to distraction, exhaustion, and poor training. "This accident, like so many others we've investigated, comes down to one of the most crucial and time-honored aspects of safe flight: good decision making," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

The pilot’s cell phone records revealed that he made and received multiple personal calls and text messages throughout the afternoon while the helicopter was being inspected and prepared for flight. The texting continued during the flight to the first hospital, while he was on the helipad at the hospital making mission-critical decisions about continuing or delaying the flight due to the fuel situation, and during the accident flight.

"This investigation highlighted what is a growing concern across transportation: distraction and the myth of multi-tasking," said Hersman. "When operating heavy machinery, whether it's a personal vehicle or an emergency medical services helicopter, the focus must be on the task at hand: safe transportation."

Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed new regulations banning cell phone use by aircraft crew while in flight. In the meantime, the NTSB also plans to issue a safety alert cautioning all pilots against using cellphones or other distracting devices during critical operations.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Cape Coral accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Cape Coral injury attorneys for a free consultation.

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