- Cessna 305 streams engine oil onto the fuselage. Pilot was distracted while filling up the engine oil, and had left the oil filler cap off.
- 4WD reverses over 3 year old boy
- Baby left in car, dies from hyperthermia
The link between all these, is the distractions which occurred.
A study published in June 2002 titled “The Stressed Hippocampus, Synaptic Plasticity and Lost Memories” concludes in part
“Stress, a naturalistic factor that contributes to memory impairments, constitutes a significant problem in today’s increasingly populous and long-living society.”
Or to put it another way:
‘The important factors that keep showing up involve a combination of stress, emotion, lack of sleep and change in routine, where the basal ganglia is trying to do what it’s supposed to do, and the conscious mind is too weakened to resist. What happens is that the memory circuits in a vulnerable hippocampus literally get overwritten, like with a computer program. Unless the memory circuit is rebooted—such as if the child cries, or, you know, if the wife mentions the child in the back—it can entirely disappear.’
– Professor David Diamond in a March 2009 Washington Post article
What lessons can be learnt?
- Remember that making a mistaking or error can happen to anyone, including you.
- Tiredness is your enemy. If you are tired, you are more likely to make a mistake.
- Be aware of distractions. Eliminate distractions as much as possible.
- Use memory aides, or checklists, as needed.
(I’m a great believer in “Remove Before Flight” streamers.
- Bird Dog Distraction
- Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?
- Flight Safety Australia issue 95 – Being human: Safety and the limits of memory
- Kids and Cars.org
The blog post title was borrowed from a post at On The Floor @Dove.