Pilot Alcohol Violations Reported in U.S. Newspapers, 1990 – 2006

Incidents of alcohol violations by airline pilots reported in U.S. newspapers have increased in recent years. Although still infrequent, these incidents are very unsettling for the general public. This study examines the frequency and characteristics of alcohol violation incidents involving airline pilots reported in U.S. newspapers. The authors searched the database of Lexis-Nexis, which contains full-text articles for over 350 newspapers, to identify alcohol violation incidents involving airline pilots in the U.S. between January 1990 and June 2006. They compiled data pertaining to the pilot, flight, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and consequence for each incident, based on the newspaper coverage. During the study period, newspapers reported on a total of 13 incidents of alcohol violations involving 17 pilots. All but two of the incidents occurred during January 2002 through June 2006. The majority (85%) of the incidents were first identified by airport personnel, such as security screeners, based on suspicion of alcohol use by the pilot. Of the 17 pilots, 6 were then prosecuted criminally, including 5 who were sentenced to jail terms. The authors conclude that the increase in detection may be due in part to enhanced aviation security and enforcement following the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Kraus, Chadd K
    • Li, Guohua
  • Publication Date: 2006-12


  • English

Media Info

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045328
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 26 2007 7:25PM