Dec. 18, 2014

The FAA has determined that the random drug and alcohol testing rates for the aviation sector will remain unchanged in 2015.

According to a recent FAA announcement, the minimum testing rates will continue to be 25 percent of safety-sensitive employees for drugs, and 10 percent of safety-sensitive workers for alcohol.

Safety-sensitive employees include pilots, flight attendants, flight instructors, aircraft dispatchers, aircraft maintenance and preventive maintenance personnel, ground security coordinators, aviation screeners and air traffic controllers.

Under FAR Part 120, the FAA may keep the drug-testing rate at 25 percent if the positive test rate is less than 1 percent. In 2013, the positive rate was 0.485 percent.

The FAA may also keep the alcohol-testing rate at 10 percent if the alcohol positive test rate is under 0.50 percent. In 2013, the rate was 0.091 percent.

“The FAA’s announcement is good news for aviation safety,” said Brian Koester, NBAA’s project manager of operations. “The low positive test rates for drugs and alcohol underscore the aviation industry’s commitment to preventing accidents and injuries resulting from the misuse of drugs or alcohol.”

According to the 2014 NBAA Management Guide, “Operations that are certificated under Part 121 or Part 135 [of Title 14] must have a drug testing program. These programs include pre-employment, random, periodic and for-cause testing of five specific drugs. Such a program is not required by Part 91, but many companies include the crew under a company drug-testing program. This program usually includes a requirement for a drug test as a condition of pre-employment or in a for-cause situation. These tests often include alcohol and additional drugs not included in the program required by the FARs.”

Read the FAA announcement (PDF).

Read the NBAA Management Guide.