The FAA Thursday issued a long-awaited final ruling on alcohol and drug abuse, under which a pilot who either refuses a drug or alcohol test at the airport, or is found with a blood-alcohol content of more than .04-percent, will lose his medical certificate.
The same rules would apply to air traffic controllers, as well. The rule also standardizes the deadline for reporting positive tests or refusals.
The changes go into effect July 21, 2006.
The new rules were met with opposition from the Air Line Pilots Association. ALPA says one positive test does not an alcohol or drug addict make.
The FAA states that before regaining medical certification for flight, a pilot whose been revoked for drug or alcohol abuse must enter rehabilitation and must demonstrate the ability to meet the standards set out in FAR Part 67. Furthermore, a blood-alcohol level of more than .04-percent must be reported to the FAA within two days.
The new rules don’t change the penalties for pilots who are arrested for DUI or DWI. Even if it’s unrelated to air travel, an arrest for driving under the influence or driving while impaired can still cost a pilot his ticket.