Mississippi motorists who are convicted of driving while under the influence face fines and possible jail time, but the consequences of driving drunk can be even more serious for pilots. People who hold pilot’s licenses in the United States must comply with rules laid down by the Federal Aviation Administration that require them to report offenses involving alcohol or drugs within 60 days. If they have previous drunk driving convictions, filing this report could lead to them being grounded.
FAA reporting requirements
Pilots must report drunk driving incidents to the FAA’s Civil Action Security Division offices in Oklahoma City. Submitting this information to a Flight Standards District Office instead of the CASD is a violation that can lead to the revocation or suspension of a flying authorization, rating or certificate. The FAA refers to these reports as notification letters. A notification letter must be sent to the FAA within 60 days of a DUI arrest, and a second letter must be sent if the arrest leads to a conviction.
Drunk driving penalties for pilots
Pilots who are convicted of DUI are not automatically grounded. The FAA conducts an investigation after receiving a notification letter, and the penalties assessed by the agency are based on the facts of the case. Pilots convicted of drunk driving twice within a three-year period can be, and usually are, grounded. Pilots who drink and drive may find it difficult to fly even if the FAA does not ground them because most commercial airlines consider a single DUI conviction to be grounds for dismissal.
Avoiding FAA sanctions
Pilots cannot avoid facing sanctions following a DUI arrest by failing to send a notification letter. This is because they authorize the National Driver Register to notify the FAA about drunk driving convictions when they apply for a pilot’s medical certificate. This means the only way to avoid being sanctioned by the FAA for drunk driving is to not get arrested for DUI in the first place.