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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-14-092
Details
Synopsis: The use of over-the-counter (OTC), prescription, and illicit drugs is increasing in the US population. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is concerned about the possible safety implications of increased drug use in all modes of transportation. Yet, in most modes of transportation, data about drug use by vehicle operators is limited to a small proportion of operators and a short list of drugs. Aviation is the one mode in which the regulatory authority, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), routinely conducts extensive postaccident toxicology testing on fatally injured pilots. This study used the results from this testing to assess drug use in aviation. By assessing evidence of fatally injured pilots’ drug use prior to flying and the associated potential for impairment, this study addressed a serious aviation safety issue and a growing transportation safety concern.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Develop, publicize, and periodically update information to educate pilots about the potentially impairing drugs identified in your toxicology test results of fatally injured pilots, and make pilots aware of less impairing alternative drugs if they are available.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA14SS003
Accident Reports:
Report #: SS-14-01
Accident Date: 2/11/2014
Issue Date: 9/23/2014
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/17/2018
Response: We note that you contacted pilot-oriented periodicals and journals, such as General Aviation News and Flight Safety, regarding article submission, and that your staff plans to submit articles regarding specific drugs, such as antihistamines and opioids. Pending publication of these articles, Safety Recommendation A-14-92 remains classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/18/2018
Response: -From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration' s (FAA) Office of Aerospace Medicine (AAM) contacted pilot-oriented periodicals and journals, such as General Aviation News and Flight Safety, regarding the possible submission of articles. AAM received positive interest from these parties and plans to propose articles regarding specific drugs, such as antihistamines and the opioid epidemic, by June 2019.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 5/23/2017
Response: We note that, to address this safety recommendation, you are working with the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) to develop and disseminate information regarding medication use to pilots. Additionally, you are preparing to publish informative articles addressing the dangers associated with medication use in trade magazines commonly read by pilots. Finally, we note that FAA research scientists will attend pilot conferences and meetings to answer questions and provide research findings regarding medications. We commend you for reaching out to general aviation (GA) pilots. The majority of pilots in our study were flying in GA operations when their fatal accident occurred because relatively fewer fatal accidents involve air carrier operations. However, Safety Recommendation A-14-92 addresses all pilots, not just GA pilots. We ask that you describe your planned activities to reach professional pilots. Pending completion of your planned activities, Safety Recommendation A-14-92 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE REPSONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/7/2017
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working with the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) to develop information regarding medication use for dissemination to pilots to address this safety recommendation . . On July 15. 2013, the members of the GAJSC, to include the FAA, sent a letter to pilots to urge caution on use of over-the-counter medications and to encourage pi lot education. The FAA is preparing informative articles regarding the dangers associated with medication use for publication in trade magazines commonly read by pilots. Additionally, FAA research scientists will attend pilot conferences and meetings to answer questions and provide research findings regarding medications. We hope to provide additional information regarding medication use by pi lots not involved in aircraft accidents when the study referenced in safety recommendation A-14-95 is completed.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/20/2016
Response: We do not agree that your ongoing publication in the scientific journal of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) of 5-year studies on the incidence of drugs found in pilots fatally injured in aviation meets the intent of this safety recommendation. We note that you have been publishing such reports for 25 years; however, although these reports are valuable, they are published in a scientific journal. The intent of this recommendation was to provide this information to pilots, as opposed to providing it to the scientific and medical personnel who would typically read the AsMA journal. In addition, the format, level of detail, and similar issues required for a scientific paper are substantially different from those best suited for distributing the information to pilots. We also reviewed a copy of the FAA report that you provided in your letter of your most recent 5-year study, and found nothing in the report that satisfies the second part of this recommendation to “make pilots aware of less impairing alternative drugs if they are available.” Accordingly, we ask that you reconsider your actions to satisfy Safety Recommendation A 14 92, which is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/12/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Aerospace Medicine has published 5-year studies on the incidence of drugs found in aviation accidents and related articles in the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) journal for the past 25 years. We recently completed another 5-year study and published a final report on our Web site at: http://www.faa.govIdata_research/research/medhumanfacs/oamtechreports/2010s/media/201513.pdf. This report has been approved for submission to the AsMA journal as a peer-reviewed article. The FAA believes that the ongoing publication of these reports in the AsMA journal meets the intent of this safety recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/3/2015
Response: We note that you are currently working to determine how you will develop educational information about less impairing alternate drugs. Pending your completing the action recommended, Safety Recommendation A-10-92 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/1/2014
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working to determine the appropriate actions regarding its progress in developing educational information about less impairing alternative drugs.