The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has come under fire for continuing to delay issuing new pilot fatigue rules. Pilot fatigue is a serious safety hazard and a known cause of catastrophic airplane crashes. Indeed, federal data links pilot fatigue to 20 airplane accidents that resulted in 273 fatalities between 1989 and 2008.
Fatigue or exhaustion is technically defined as “a non-pathologic state resulting in a decreased ability to maintain function or workload due to mental or physical stress.” For pilots, studies have demonstrated two specific factors that contribute to fatigue: sleep loss and circadian rhythm disruption.
Pilots require a certain amount of sleep “for maximal waking performance and alertness.” Circadian rhythm disruption, or disruption of a person’s “internal body clock,” involves disruption to 24-hour biological processes, such as brain wave activity and cell regeneration, that are regulated by a person’s circadian rhythm.
Airline accidents are often catastrophic events, causing serious injury and death. Numerous factors can contribute to airline accidents, including pilot error, airline negligence or product defects. Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced airline crash lawyer well versed in federal aviation regulations, insurance and airline carriers.
According to current federal regulations, pilots on domestic flights must have at least eight hours of rest in any 24-hour period. For international flights, the FAA requires airlines carriers to establish rest periods and provide “adequate sleeping facilities outside of the cockpit for in-flight rest.”
Previous attempts to modify the rules to fully address pilot fatigue have failed. Political infighting among the aviation industry, namely large commercial airlines, smaller operators and cargo carriers and the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) have prevented rule changes.
Aviation accidents are not limited to commercial jets or small carriers; they may involve helicopters, medivacs and gliders. Many factors, including pilot error, can contribute to an airplane accident. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of an aviation accident, contact the Chicago personal injury lawyers of Passen Law about your case. Call us at (312) 527-4500 for a Free Consultation.