You aren’t allowed to drive after drinking without penalty. Commercial truck drivers are held to an even higher standard because they’re operating some huge vehicles that can cause even greater damage. It only makes sense, then, that pilots – who have to operate some of the biggest vehicles of all – are also held to strict sobriety standards.
Unfortunately, far too many pilots seem to struggle with drinking problems that leave themselves and their passengers in serious danger.
Drunk and hungover pilots in the cockpit pose a serious problem
In a startling example of just how serious alcohol abuse among pilots can be, three pilots with two different airlines were removed from the cockpits of their airlines – luckily – before they could begin their flights.
Even as the authorities rushed to reassure travelers that intoxicated pilots were “rare,” one airline (United) changed its rules so that its pilots are now prohibited from drinking for 12 hours before a flight, instead of eight. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) admits that 99 pilots have been found to be intoxicated before, during or after their flights between 2010 and 2018.
Naturally, the problems haven’t stopped. Just recently, a JetBlue pilot was arrested after his breath alcohol test indicated he was four times the legal limit. His blood alcohol content – the day after a night of drinking – was still .17%, which is twice the legal limit for drivers and four times the legal limit for pilots.
When incidents like these come to light, the natural question to ask is, “How many inebriated or hungover pilots don’t get caught?” The answer could be terrifying.
If you or your loved ones have been involved in an aviation accident that might be related to an inebriated pilot, find out more about your legal options.