• FAA Random Drug Testing Requirements for Pilots

    Like most drivers who drive vehicles that require special education and certification, pilots too are subject to the regulations of the DOT (Department of Transportation) drug testing policy. These regulations are designed to maintain the safety of all passengers and aircraft crew who depend on their pilot to be able to transport them from one location to another without incident.

    This means that the pilot must be able to be on guard at all times for the varying situations that could occur during the course of taking off, flying and landing the airplane under their control. A pilot more than any other major transportation operator needs to have a clear mind and an ability to focus to maintain the safety and wellbeing of those he transports. These abilities are delayed, limited or severely impaired by the abuse of illegal substances.

    Background Screening

    Background Screening

    What FAA Requirements Must A Pilot Meet to Fly?

    • Pilots are subject to random, unannounced drug testing which is generally conducted during working hours. Those who are chosen are given a notice shortly before testing which tells them where they must go to submit their sample.
    • They must submit a sample for testing once they’re done doing the safety sensitive job they are doing and arrive at the testing site. If the pilot doesn’t arrive at the appointed time or is thought to be tampering with the drug testing process they are considered to have refused testing.
    • If the pilot has done anything that constitutes a refusal or outright refuses to submit a sample they will not be able to fly or do any other job which is considered safety sensitive until they’ve completed a drug test with a negative result.
    • Getting a positive result on a random drug test also requires the pilot to achieve a negative test result on retest before they can return to safety sensitive work. Pilots who failed a drug test will also be asked to submit to at least 6 random follow up drug screenings (which are observed) over the course of the next 12 months to verify their sobriety is being maintained.
    • Pilots who received a negative result are referred to a Substance Abuse Professional who will determine the rate and frequency of follow-up drug testing (which may continue for up to 5 years after the failed test) as well as what substances the pilot will be tested for.

    The FAA random drug testing program (like other DOT regulated substance abuse programs) also offers those with substance abuse problems opportunities to report their addiction to a counselor so that they may pursue treatment without facing censure from their employer. Education about substance abuse and prevention are also an integral part of the drug testing process as they help employees to better understand the role that drugs take on in their lives. If these pilots feel that they work in an environment that is willing to help them succeed and remove the negative effects of substance abuse from their work and public lives they’ll be much more invested in maintaining the requirements.


    Categories: Drug Testing

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    3 thoughts on “FAA Random Drug Testing Requirements for Pilots

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