Use of Drug or Alcohol

Under U.S. government regulations, any person while serving as an airman, crewmember, airport security screening employee, air carrier employee responsible for safety-sensitive functions, or as an employee of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with responsibility for safety-sensitive functions must not use alcohol or any controlled substance[i].

In addition, 14 CFR 91.17 provides that an individual must not act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft under the following circumstances:

  • if s/he has consumed any alcoholic beverage within eight hours prior to his/her action or attempted action; or
  • if s/he is under the influence of alcohol; or
  • if s/he has used any drug that affects such individual’s faculties in any way contrary to safety; or
  • if s/he has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater in a blood or breath specimen.

 

Apart from these statutory regulations, in the interest of aviation safety, the administrator of FAA can also prescribe regulations for[ii]:

  • establishing programs requiring air carriers and foreign air carriers to conduct pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, and post-accident testing of airmen, crew members, airport security screening personnel, and other air carrier employees responsible for safety-sensitive functions for the use of a controlled substance or alcohol in violation of law or a U.S. government regulation; or
  • conducting periodic recurring testing of airmen, crewmembers, airport security screening personnel, and other air carrier employees responsible for safety-sensitive functions for the use of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of law or a U.S. government regulation; or
  • establishing and maintaining a rehabilitation program that at least provides for the identification and opportunity for treatment of airmen, crewmembers, airport security screening personnel, and other air carrier employees responsible for safety-sensitive functions for the use of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of law or a U.S. government regulation[iii].

 

Likewise, the administrator can also[iv]:

  • prescribe regulations for conducting periodic recurring testing of employees of the FAA responsible for safety-sensitive functions for use of alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of law or a U.S. government regulation; or
  • establish programs of pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, and post-accident testing for the use of a controlled substance or alcohol in violation of law or a U.S. government regulation for the employees of FAA whose duties include responsibility for safety-sensitive functions; or
  • establish and maintain a rehabilitation program that at least provides for the identification and opportunity for treatment of employees of FAA whose duties include responsibility for safety-sensitive functions who need assistance in resolving problems with the use of alcohol or a controlled substance[v].

 

While prescribing regulations, the administrator can[vi]:

  • suspend or revoke any certificate issued to an airman when a test conducted indicates the airman has used alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of law or a U.S. government regulation; or
  • disqualify or dismiss an airman who has used alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of law or a government regulation.

 

However, an individual who served as an airman and who have been found to have used alcohol or a controlled substance in violation of law or a U.S. government regulation, will not be allowed to resume his/her prior duties without completing the rehabilitation program[vii].

Likewise, no pilot of a civil aircraft must allow a person who appears to be intoxicated or who demonstrates by manner or physical indications that the individual is under the influence of drugs, to be carried in that aircraft.  However in case of an emergency, the pilot can permit an intoxicated individual to travel in the aircraft[viii].

[i] 49 USCS § 45103.

[ii] 49 USCS § 45102(a).

[iii] 49 USCS § 45105(a).

[iv] 49 USCS § 45102(b).

[v] 49 USCS § 45105(a).

[vi] 49 USCS § 45102(c).

[vii] 49 USCS § 45103(b).

[viii] 14 CFR 91.17(b).


Inside Use of Drug or Alcohol