Abstract Title

Safety Criminalization

Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

group

Authors' Class Standing

Junior

Lead Presenter's Name

Urara Takano

Faculty Mentor Name

Scott Winter

Abstract

A key to maintaining top safety levels in aviation is being able to identify and solve problems before they develop into accidents. Aviation has traditionally assumed a “just culture” where admitting errors is encouraged and punishment is withheld (excluding intentional acts). However, in recent years some countries have pursued criminal charges against pilots. A concern in the aviation safety community is whether or not the increase in criminal charges against pilots will have the unintended consequence of destroying just culture and actually result in a safety decrease across the industry. Additionally, no prior study which we are aware of has investigated this topic from an empirical standpoint. Therefore, the purpose of this research study is to identify the perceptions of passengers on whether or not criminal charges should be filed against pilots for varying accidents and by the gender of the participant. The preliminary findings indicate that passenger’s perceptions towards criminalization of pilots does significantly vary based on the type of accident scenario. There was no significant difference based on participant gender. The study identifies the practical applications of these findings and provides recommendations for future research.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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Safety Criminalization

A key to maintaining top safety levels in aviation is being able to identify and solve problems before they develop into accidents. Aviation has traditionally assumed a “just culture” where admitting errors is encouraged and punishment is withheld (excluding intentional acts). However, in recent years some countries have pursued criminal charges against pilots. A concern in the aviation safety community is whether or not the increase in criminal charges against pilots will have the unintended consequence of destroying just culture and actually result in a safety decrease across the industry. Additionally, no prior study which we are aware of has investigated this topic from an empirical standpoint. Therefore, the purpose of this research study is to identify the perceptions of passengers on whether or not criminal charges should be filed against pilots for varying accidents and by the gender of the participant. The preliminary findings indicate that passenger’s perceptions towards criminalization of pilots does significantly vary based on the type of accident scenario. There was no significant difference based on participant gender. The study identifies the practical applications of these findings and provides recommendations for future research.

 

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