Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell has signed a state bill that criminalizes drunken or impaired flying following a widely publicized incident that occurred last year. The new law, which is similar to existing federal regulations, prohibits anyone from acting as a flight crewmember of an aircraft while under the influence of a controlled substance or when the concentration of alcohol in their blood or breath is measured at .02 percent or more two hours before flight. The state law also prohibits anyone from operating an aircraft within eight hours of consuming liquor or a malt or brewed alcoholic beverage. The measure passed the legislature last year but was vetoed by Rendell because of his opposition to an unrelated Senate amendment. The federal aviation regulations (FAR 91.17(a)) already state, "No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft: Within eight hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage; while under the influence of alcohol; while using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety; or while having .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood."
July 8, 2005