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Alcohol and commercial pilots

While air travel is generally regarded as one of the safest methods of travel, people in New York have good reason to be concerned about safety when taking to the skies. As a passenger, a person is completely vulnerable and subject to the actions and decisions of pilots and crewmembers. If a problem occurs, there may be fewer options for airplane passengers to flee a scene safely than for people riding in cars.

Many accidents that happen on roads involve the negligent choices of drivers, such as drinking and driving. When it comes to pilots, one might wonder what rules are in place to prevent impaired operation of an airplane. As explained by CNN, there are actually no consistent rules around the globe. Instead, a global aviation organization issues some general guidelines and leaves each country to develop its own set of rules and penalties for breaking those rules.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, pilots in the United States may not legally operate a plane if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or greater. This is the same threshold used for truckers and others holding commercial driving licenses. In addition, a pilot is required to allow at least eight hours to pass between consuming alcohol and flying a plane. While these are the official rules, the FAA does indicate that allowing at least 24 hours between drinking and flying to be safer.

Full-blown intoxication is not the only problem passengers should be concerned about. A pilot may experience diminished functionality for two or three days after drinking too much. 

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