FAA Plays Big Brother in Aviation
We all know that drinking and driving don't mix well, but the combination can have double the repercussions for pilots. When it comes to motor vehicles and alcohol incidents, all pilots must send a Notification Letter to FAA's Security and Investigations Division within 60 calendar days of the date of an alcohol-related conviction or administrative action. The DUI/DWI compliance program began in November 1990 by Congressional Act.
Each event, conviction, or administrative action requires a separate Notification Letter. For example, an airman's driver license may be suspended at the time of arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol after failing a breathalyzer or refusing the test. The pilot must send a Notification Letter for the suspension, then send a second Notification Letter if the alcohol-related offense results in a conviction. (Even though the pilot sent two notification letters, FAA views the suspension and conviction as one alcohol-related incident.) Log on to www.faa.gov
for the Security and Investigations Division's full reporting requirements.
Failure to send a Notification Letter within 60 days to FAA's Security & Investigations Division is grounds for:
- Denial of an application for any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this regulation for up to one year after the date of the motor vehicle action.
- Suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization issued under this regulation.
The FAA closes the file if the pilot complied with the requirements of the Notification Letter, disclosed the incident on the Application for Airman Medical, and does not have two motor vehicle actions within three years.
It definitely pays to confess the situation to the FAA, because otherwise they begin a formal investigation upon learning about it. And they find out about it one way or another: FAA Form 8500-8 'Application for Airmen Medical' contains an express consent provision which authorizes the National Driver Register (NDR) to release information about the pilot's driving record to FAA. Information on the NDR record will contain pointers to states that keep a driving history on the airman. The FAA will then obtain these records to determine if a reportable alcohol-related motor vehicle action exists.