FAA Explains New DUI Policy for Pilots

 - November 5, 2009, 10:41 AM

FAA aerospace medical certification division manager Dr. Warren Silberman explained the FAA’s new DUI (driving under the influence or while intoxicated) policy in the latest Federal Air Surgeon’s Medical Bulletin, issued on Tuesday. According to Silberman, pilots who get a DUI and had a blood-alcohol content exceeding 0.15 percent when charged or who refused to allow the police to take a sample will automatically have their case transferred to the FAA’s aerospace medical certification division. “We will then insist that the airman obtain a substance-abuse evaluation from a recognized counselor as a condition of further consideration of issuance of a medical certificate.” Under previous rules, pilots who were first-time DUI offenders would have their court record reviewed by aeromedical examiners, who had leeway to determine whether the applicant had a problem. Silberman also noted that the FAA checks the National Driver Registry weekly to see if any airmen have a DUI-related arrest, conviction or administrative actions and then check medical examination records to see if they informed the FAA of the offenses. If not, those airmen could lose their pilot and medical certificates. Pilots are required to report to the FAA within 60 days any DUI-related actions.