Tuesday, March 29, 2005

HB 129: Flight Crew Under the Influence

H.B. 129, P.N. 132 (WATSON). This would amend Title 74 (Transportation). This would create the crime of flying or being a member of a flight crew of an aircraft while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or with a blood alcohol content of 0.02% or more. An aircraft owner would be prohibited from knowingly allowing a person to be on an aircraft flight crew under the aforementioned conditions. A violation of any of these would be a third degree misdemeanor penalized by a fine of a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000 and imprisonment of at least 72 consecutive hours. A person who served as an intoxicated flight crew member would be required to be evaluated for alcohol and/or substance abuse problems and could be required to undergo court ordered treatment.
A person who has reasonable grounds to be suspected of being under the influence could be requested to submit to a blood, breathe, urine, or similar test by a law enforcement officer. A person is not required to submit to such testing but, upon being informed of the penalty for such refusal, would be fined a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $5,000 for this refusal. Tests would be required to be conducted according to Health Department and Transportation Department regulations and by a licensed clinical laboratory. A person tested by the Commonwealth would have the right to be tested by a physician of the person’s testing, so long as the personal physician test does not delay the Commonwealth’s testing.
A physician, nurse, technician, or hospital employee engaging in such testing at the direction of a law enforcement officer would be immune from civil liability for performing such testing.
The name and test results of a person so tested would be forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration. There are separate Federal penalties for flying or being a member of a flight crew while under the influence.


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