Motorists may have reason to fear being involved in a drunk driving accident and being severely injured. Although people are aware of the many dangers that are associated with drunk driving and that people get arrested every day for committing the crime, many people do not think about drunk pilots causing aviation accidents when operating a plane.
Operating a plane while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is just as dangerous as drunk driving, and the negligent action can kill many people if an accident does occur. Fortunately, a potential aviation accident was avoided earlier this month in the U.S. when a 48-year-old commercial airplane pilot was arrested after he failed a breath test. An airport security guard at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport had suspected that the pilot was drunk shortly before he was supposed to fly a plane with dozens of passengers on board.
The police report said the pilot smelled like alcohol, which was detected by a security officer as the pilot waited to board a plane. A spokesperson from the airline said they are complying with police investigations and they are also conducting their own investigation of the alleged pilot error. According to reports, the pilot did fail a breath test after the security guard detected the odor of alcohol on the pilot.
Regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration say pilots can have up to a .04 blood alcohol content when flying; however, pilots must wait eight hours after drinking before operating an aircraft.
If the pilot had been able to board the plane, 53 passengers would have been put in an extremely dangerous situation. Many could have been injured or lost their lives if an accident had taken place. As for the pilot, he is not being allowed to perform his duties until the investigation comes to an end, according to a spokesperson for American Airlines.
Source: CNN, “Pilot arrested after security agent smells alcohol,” Aaron Cooper, Jan. 4, 2013