Data Saves Lives

By Debbie Hersman

Data saves lives. That was the main point of a talk I was privileged to give this week in Montreal. I was deeply honored to be invited by the Montreal Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society to give the 8th Annual Assad Kotaite Lecture.  The annual lecture is a tribute to Dr. Assad Kotaite, a longstanding President of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

In my talk, “Assuring Safety in Aviation’s Second Century,” I highlighted the past, present, and future of accident investigation and spoke about how accident investigation must adapt to play an even more pivotal role in creating civil aviation’s safer and stronger future. I used examples from two recent and highly challenging accident investigations to illustrate how accident investigation will depend far more on data and cooperation than in the past.

It was a privilege to have this opportunity to meet with so many dedicated and talented aviation leaders and to meet Dr. Kotaite, whose work has made such tremendous contribution to international aviation.

2 thoughts on “Data Saves Lives”

  1. Ms. Hersman, re your comments about cellphone calls in cars, perhaps there could be a way to have the ‘transmit’ function disabled when the phone was in motion in a car. That would still permit a driver to receive important information. If a reply or a conversation was required, they could then find a convenient spot to stop.

    There are times when I get a call when I’m driving (bring home milk, pick up the kids, etc.). It would be a handicap if I could not get that message, but for the most part, I don’t need to respond. If I needed more info, I could pull over and call back.

    I don’t know how the mechanics of such a feature would work. Obviously, it could permit 911 calls. There also might be a way to let the transmit work in buses and trains, etc.

    But I think there might be the germ of an idea here. Otherwise, I fear that the public will just not go along with this rule (which, as you point out, is very difficult to enforce, particularly if a driver is using a hands-free phone.

    Good luck…and happy holidays.

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