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Drunk Driving ..... for Pilots

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Syxx, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. Syxx

    Syxx IncGamers Member

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    Drunk Driving ..... for Pilots

    Hi All,

    Recently in Denmark there has been a discussion about Pilots who are caught Drunk Driving and lose their car licence, but retain their pilots licence. Should they also lose their pilots licence ?

    The Minister of Transport, says its ok that they keep flying. He thinks the Aviation Department has things under control and enough checks in place.

    However a director in charge of an organistion that deals with Alcoholics says he thinks pilots should immediately lose their pilots licence the moment they are convicted of Drunk Drinking (vechile). His reasoning .... Drunk driving is an indication of loss of control. Also most drunk driver have some sort of Alcoholic dependancy and as such should not be flying planes.

    Between 2001 and 2004, 50 pilots have been convicted of Drunk Driving of a vechile, and none of them have lost their pilots licence.

    What do you think ?

    Regards
    Syxx
     
  2. nrabbit

    nrabbit IncGamers Member

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    i think they should lose it. i think that they should lose their license for driving any kind of motor vehicles. there isn't a big difference between driving a plane or a car drunk.
     
  3. KnightFall

    KnightFall IncGamers Member

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    They shouldn't lose their pilots licence too. You take away their job too that way. They have seperate tests for pilots before they fly don't they?

    KnightFall
     
  4. nrabbit

    nrabbit IncGamers Member

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    well they should have thought twice before driving drunk
     
  5. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    I don't see why they should. You lose your driver's license because you were operating your car while drunk. That has nothing to do with an airplane. And are most drunk drivers really dependent on alcohol? Or are they those who had too much at the bar and wanted to get home?
     
  6. Keldaris

    Keldaris IncGamers Member

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    For the most part it's just people trying to get home. And Airlines tend to do fairly frequent drug tests, so i'm sure that they also check for alcohol(breathalizer or other methods) and are pretty capable of keeping a drunk man out of the cockpit.
     
  7. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    Most drunk drivers are dependent on alcohol? Eh? Care to back that up with some evidence before condeming?

    I myself am not proud to admit this, but was pulled over for speeding a few weeks back after having had several beers. The officer noted that he could tell I had been drinking, but I was extremely coherent, passed all of his unofficial sobriety tests, and he did not feel that I was intoxicated enough to be more than just over the legal limit.

    He had caught me doing 23 over, which I was doing because I was on back roads to my house that are untravelled. I wanted to get home, and could drive those roads blindfolded, so was going too fast. I admitted to him that I was being stupid, was eager to get home, and very well aware that I had broken the law.

    He wrote me a ticket for going 19 over (just below the limit for reckless driving, for which he could have revoked my license), and told me to take it easy next time. He also suggested that when I was drinking I take a cab for the short trip (I was driving from the metro station to my house, all of about a mile).

    For the record, I'd had 5 beers over the course of 6 hours, and two hot dogs in that time. I'd not had a beer within almost two hours when I was pulled over.

    Am I very glad that I wasn't facing more serious consequences? Very.
    Am I less lax about driving even that 1 mile from the metro to my home at 1 am? Very.
    Am I suddenly dependent on alcohol because of it? Not last I checked.

    Contrary to what my name here might lead you to believe, I rarely drink anymore. If going out to a baseball game on a Friday night and having 5 beers makes me an alcoholic, that's news to me, but last I checked it wasn't terribly uncommon. At least not judging by the number of people around me drinking.

    At any rate, regarding the pilot's licenses, it's an interesting question. I have a few follow ups before I answer it--if you are caught drunk behind the wheel of a boat (which is also illegal, at least in the US), do you suffer penalties with regards to your driving priviledges also?

    One other comment--because I had a few too many and got behind the wheel one Friday night does not mean I would EVER consider going to work after even one beer. So my gut is to say that it's unlikely that these guys are drinking on the job.
     
  8. Raistlin Majere

    Raistlin Majere IncGamers Member

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    The State issues you your Drivers License, The Federal government (FAA) issues your Pilots licsence.

    It costs about $100 and a test to get your DL back, it cost more than $7,000 to get your PL and get all your certifacations back. Just to start off it costs more than $100 an hour for lessons. GPBH and Rod can clarify.


    Big difference.
     
  9. bagar

    bagar IncGamers Member

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    To be honest i think some of your views on drunk driving are strange. Strange in the way you seem to think that drunk driving is a minor offence and that you seem to think that it doesnt say anything about a man's general character.

    Remember that intoxicated drivers are extremely over-represented in car-accident-statistics and the significant amount of deaths caused by these people.

    In my opinion, a fair way to handle a traffic pilot caught driving a car drunk would be to have random extra drug-controls for a set amount of time in the future. For repeated offenders I honestely think piloting planes should be forbidden until the underlying disorder (alchoholism, excessive risk behaviour or something else) has been investigated and if possible treated. I think you cant be too careful when you deal with persons who have that many innocent lives in their hands on a daily basis.
     
  10. farting bob

    farting bob Banned

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    Providing that before every flight pilots are tested for drug and alcohol then there isnt much of a problem. Also, the co-pilot should take over at the first sign of something a bit wrong.
     
  11. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    I think it depends. Was it a mistake like I made, where after 5 beers and a few hours of sobering up, I decided it was okay to drive and was probably wrong (I was never breathalized--I may well have been within the legal limit)? Or are we talking about blowing a .15 and falling out of the car when the cop asks you to get out? In my eyes, there is a difference between the two.

    Perhaps not, and I'm a terrible person for my mistake. I don't think that I completely lack character for it, personally, despite what you may believe.

    Indeed. So are drivers talking on cell phones. I'm not saying either is right. I'm also not saying that we should effectively end someone's career over such a mistake, unless it was a mistake that landed them in jail. In my state, a first-time offense can carry a mandatory jail sentence. If we're going to target drunk drivers, let's target them all equally rather than discriminating against one particular group. Do you think surgeons should have their licenses to practice medicine revoked if they have a DUI on their record?
     
  12. {KOW}Spazed

    {KOW}Spazed Banned

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    I have two private pilots in my family(Grandfather and uncle) that both own a King Air. They legally own the plane and pay for the fuel, but they can't fly it until they do a sobriety test. Some airports even have those pocket breathalyzers. The amount you can have in you to legally fly is less than half of that for driving a car(if you fly a twin engine, its a little more for single)


    So if those two men can't fly without taking a test, even if they are just flying themselves why would a commercial airline pilot be able to take hundreds of people with no test?
     
  13. MixedVariety

    MixedVariety Banned

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    My take:

    A man (or woman, if you like) drinks more than he/she should, willingly gets inside a two-ton (or more) guided missile, and attempts to navigate home. Probably they make it, sometimes not. If they are willing to take that chance, with their own lives and others', how are we to believe they will look differently at a much larger guided missile that holds many more people?

    Personally, I believe certain careers require certain character traits and perhaps different qualifications than many others; police, emergency personnel, doctors, airline/train/boat pilots, etc. These are people who specifically picked careers serving citizenry and the public in general, and like it or not should perhaps be required to hold themselves to a higher standard than the norm.

    If I owned an airline, and one of my pilots got a DUI, I would probably at least want to personally review his case myself without automatically dismissing him out of hand. Still, it's a matter of statistics: If I dismiss an pilot because of a DUI, then I'll never have to worry about him crashing one of my planes, right? Similarly, if a pilot loses his flying license because of a DUI, the government will never have to worry about him flying drunk, no?
     
  14. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    Why not save yourself the risk, MV, and just give them a daily test for alcohol? That way you wouldn't run the risk of them doing it before they get caught. Otherwise, they could be drinking heavily at the airports and flying but not drunk driving because they feel they can get away with one but not the other.

    At any rate, I have a bit of a problem with this. It opens a door for employers to pry a lot more into my personal life, and I don't like it. I'd rather make driving infractions tied to pilot's licenses and boating licenses than allow my employer access to whatever sort of information like that they want about me. What business of theirs is it if I do something like that on my own time but never bring it into the office?
     
  15. giantpinkbunnyhead

    giantpinkbunnyhead IncGamers Member

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    That is not true. No FAA requirement makes that stipulation, however if an airline wants to implement that into their own policy, then they certainly can. I know at my airline, we aren't tested before each flight at all. Then again, we fly cargo. Generally, pilots fall under random drug testing requirements instead. I end up being tested once every six months or so, and if there is any suspiscion I will be tested immediately, and a refusal to do so is grounds for termination. This is pretty standard protocol for safety-sensitive positions at any airline.

    Regarding the topic at hand, in the US, a pilot who is caught exercising the privileges of his/her certificate while under the influence of alcohol can, and probably will, have his license suspended, if not revoked.

    14 CFR 91.17 lays out the initial policy for all pilots: Must not have had alcohol within 8 hours of flying; and cannot have a BAC of over .04. It also states that as pilots, we must comply with an official who wishes to test our BAC. These general rules govern all pilots but for airlines, the FAA requires the airline have it's own Alcohol/Substance Abuse/Misuse program which is to include drug testing and the designation of safety sensitive positions. It is further up to the airline how it will prosecute a drunk pilot. Usually it is termination.

    However, an airline who finds a drunk pilot on shift is required to file a report with the FAA, and the FAA will ALSO go against the pilot. The pilot's employer will likely fire him; and the FAA will likely revoke his license. In certain cases, the FAA may elect to merely suspend one's license for either 60 days or 120 days, but it won't matter anyway because a pilot with a "caught drunk" on his record becomes unemployable in this country. I don't know of any airline that will hire anyone with a black mark like that.

    Being caught drunk behind the wheel of a car is nothing compared to having it happen to a pilot in a plane. It is a career-ender, even if the FAA doesn't take your license. And rightfully so. Anyone here who flies knows the extreme importance of continual situational awareness, sharp judgment, and being alert. A mistake made while flying has enormous potential to result in serious loss of life and property. Flying is probably the ultimate exercise in risk management and sound judgment. Would you trust the judgment of a pilot who didn't think flying with a beer in his system would be detrimental? Getting caught like that is probably the biggest blow to what is supposed to be one of the top qualities of any pilot, whether they fly Cessna's or 747's.

    By extension, this spills over to DUI's in cars too. A pilot who gets a DUI is actually required to tell the FAA about it, and then *yoink*! You've just lost your wings. If the FAA isn't convinced you won't avoid drinking and driving, why should they believe you won't drink and fly? THe old "Oh I know the difference" argument does NOT EVER hold up.

    I fully support, and encourage, the FAA to yank the license of any pilot who flies drunk or drives drunk. It's hard enough to get flying jobs as it is... we ought to be able to weed out those with poorer judgment. Any career pilot is well aware that they will lose their job if they are caught with alcohol in their system at the wrong time, on ground or in air. SO please, don't feel bad if they get busted... They were quite aware of the consequences.
     
  16. MixedVariety

    MixedVariety Banned

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    I would actually probably be all right with your first suggestion, DC. If the pilot was willing to submit to a quick breathalyser test or some such before his flights, I would likely keep him on if he had a good record with my company and this DUI was an aberration. But more than once would be a risk, and why should I risk my business to pilots who drink and drive, when I can probably find some who don't?

    And I agree, to a point, with what you're saying about employers prying into ones' private life. Except usually a DUI is made public; the drinker did not just drink in the privacy of a home and stay there, he drank and went out in public and perhaps no longer deserves anonymity. His crime will appear in the newspaper, in the police blotter section at the least, so it's no longer private and really wasn't prying on the part of an employer.

    Edit: I like your viewpoint, though, GPBH; and you speak from an experienced pilot's point of view, so you win. Yay!
     
  17. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    GPBH has settled it then, as far as I'm concerned. If it's an FAA policy, my question is answered.

    Bottom line is that I don't like the idea of the employer prying into personal lives. My political donations are public as well, but I'd not be too crazy about the idea that my employer went out and figured out which political candidates I was donating to. As long as I do my job well, and within the limits of the law, I see no reason why they should care that I go home and smoke pot, steal cable, or even engage in other, more dangerous, behaviors, so long as they do not impact the company.

    When the government, as in this case, states that a certain infraction will carry over and make it impossible for me do to my job, so be it.

    Am I making sense? My caffeine's running low and I feel disjointed.
     
  18. Darnoc

    Darnoc IncGamers Member

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    a dui should have a little bearing on a pilot license. Yes, some of the dui's mentioned in the article were professional pilots, but Im sure at least a few simply have a pilot license for fun/traveling. I think that while pilots should not have their pilot license revoked, any convicted of a dui should be forced to take a breathilizer before flying for any reason. Last thing I want is some drunk bastard crashing his helicopter into my house. It's kind of hard to pull over someone flying to give them a dui, so I think its fair for anyone caught drinking and driving to have safeguards put in place from doing the same thing while flying and doing more damage.
     
  19. Yaboosh

    Yaboosh IncGamers Member

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    How many hours of sleep a night is a pilot legally required to get? What are the penalties for flying while tired?
     
  20. nrabbit

    nrabbit IncGamers Member

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    again i say, if a driver is caught drunk then his lisence for driving a motor vehicle should be taken. i am not talking about only a DL or a flying liscense i say that they should take all his licenses so that he would not be able to drive anything.
     

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