Man Arrested for Suspicion of DUI in Route to Airport
A man in Indiana was recently arrested for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) while on his way to the Indianapolis Airport. The man was identified, and it was discovered he was a commercial airline pilot. According to law enforcement, the man’s eyes were bloodshot, he had difficulties with coordination, and his speech was slurred. Court documents stated that the man could not complete any field sobriety tests during the traffic stop as he almost fell over while attempting to walk.
After being arrested, it was determined that the man’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 0.29 percent, but it was unclear to law enforcement whether he was scheduled to fly an aircraft that evening. Federal regulations currently enforce an eight hour “bottle to throttle” period, meaning pilots are not allowed to fly an aircraft when they have been consuming alcohol within the last eight hours. Additionally, many commercial airlines extend that period to 12 hours.
Per the Federal Aviation Administration, a pilot must report any type of alcohol-related conviction, revocation, suspension, or failed breathalyzer test within a period of 60 days. Since it is not required for an individual to carry a driver’s license to pilot an aircraft, being arrested and convicted for DUI does not mean that the individual will be barred from piloting an aircraft following an arrest or a conviction for DUI.
According to a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the FAA does not hesitate to “act aggressively” when it comes to dealing with pilots who have violated drug or alcohol laws, and the FAA also states that airlines are required to have random testing programs in place. Cases such as this are evaluated on a case by case basis, and the result of these actions on behalf of a pilot could lead to him or her losing his or her certificate of eligibility and ability to pilot an aircraft.
The vehicle codes in many states often do not apply to pilots and aircraft. Crewmembers and pilots are governed by the FAA, and under those regulations, no individual may act or attempt to act as a pilot or crew member within eight hours of consuming alcohol, while under the influence of alcohol, or while using any drugs that will affect his or her ability to safely work on or pilot the aircraft. Additionally, the FAA requires alcohol screenings at random intervals for all pilots.