Drunk Air Traffic Controller Should Be Fired, Not Suspended

air traffic controlAn air traffic controller at Denver Center is being investigated for being drunk on the job, the FAA told CNN. The unidentified man reportedly had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit while on the job July 5. After a random and routine test proved the man had been drinking, the FAA gave the controller a choice: either resign or enter rehab.

That's nice and all, but this isn't a guy working in an innocuous office that just happens to be really tall with a lot of planes flying by ... this guy is responsible for thousands of lives every day. How come there isn't a zero-tolerance policy for air traffic controllers who are found to be boozy on the job?


I would consider myself pretty liberal when it comes to second chances -- I love them! Most people deserve them! But an air traffic controller? I don't know about that. It's not like he came forward to his boss and fessed-up to a few beers at lunch, or said he was still kind of drinkedy drunk from the 4th of July barbecue and needed the day off -- he had to be caught during a random test.

Which makes me question if this was his first time being under the influence at the controls. Was it just his horrible bad luck that made him get caught the first and only time he did something wrong? And if that's the case, would he even need rehab?

It was the controller's first offence, so charges will not be pressed, and he will be allowed to return to his job after rehab.

Before you get all, "twice the legal limit isn't that much for a grown man" -- fine. Maybe he wasn't naked-wasted doing keg stands in the bathroom, but I like landing safely on the ground as a plane passenger, and I would like it if my air traffic was clear and safe and controlled by someone substance-free.

Do you think there should be zero-tolerance for air traffic controllers?

Photo via Sean MacEntee/Flickr

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