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Form 8500-8 (Part 3)

Airman Medical Certificate – Form 8500-8 – Part 3

This article is part three of a five-part series that is covering the most frequently asked questions concerning sections 17a, 18, 18x, 18v, and 19 on Form 8500-8, and a discussion concerning Article 22 of the parties’ CBA as it may relate to making changes to information provided on the 8500-8. The last article covered Questions 18 and 18x on the Form. This article will examine questions concerning section 18v on the 8500-8, along with a new section (18y) the Agency has added.

Question #18v: Alcohol and Drug Related Motor Vehicle Actions

Question 18v asks about a history of “convictions involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug.” This would include convictions for offenses that were reduced to a lower offense, such as careless driving. This also includes offenses that were expunged by the courts after a certain time period. Your signature on the Form authorizes the FAA to search the National Drivers Register.

Question 18v also asks about “history of convictions(s) or administrative action(s) involving offense(s) which resulted in the denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges or which resulted in attendance at an educational or a rehabilitation program.” The FAA interprets this very broadly. The issuance of a temporary driver’s license following a citation, even if later acquitted, constitutes an administrative action in the FAA’s eyes. If driving privileges were suspended in a state in which the person does not hold a license (e.g., California, most often), this will appear on the National Drivers Register, even if the person did not lose the state driver’s license he/she holds. Attendance at a three-hour safety seminar is another example of a reportable event.

The instructions on page two of the 8500-8 Form contain detailed explanations of the reporting requirements. If in doubt about a reporting requirement, insist on reading the instructions. When reading the instructions, think in terms of an FAA representative interpreting the requirement rather than trying to justify not reporting an event. We believe that it is better to err on the side of caution than run the risk of not reporting enough.

DO NOT fail to report any offense in this area. Positive responses may or may not trigger a requirement for a substance abuse evaluation. False responses may trigger an administrative investigation leading to discipline.

Signing Form 8500-8

Signing the Form includes two declarations. The first declaration constitutes an authorization for a single access to the National Driver Register to verify information provided in Question 18v. The second declaration certifies the completeness and truthfulness of the medical application. The declaration section must be signed and dated by the BUE to be valid.

Changes to Question 18v

The FAA is in the process of changing Question 18v on the 8500-8 Form. The change was to take effect on September 1, 2008. However, the new Form has not been distributed to all FAA AMEs, but is expected to be in use in the next few months according to Virtual Flight Surgeons (VFS).

The changes to the Question 18v are highlighted and are as follows:

Yes/No:

History of arrest, and/or conviction(s) involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug; or (2) any history of any arrest, and/or conviction(s) or administrative actions(s) involving an offense(s) which resulted in the denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation of driving privileges or which resulted in attendance at an education or rehabilitation program.

The Agency now requires employees to report any and all arrests involving DUI/DWI, or history of any arrest. Bargaining unit employees are required by ER 4.1 to reports any arrests. The modified question in 18v is a repeated disclosure to the Agency when undergoing a medical certification renewal by completing the 8500-8 Form.

The second change is adding a new question in 18y inquiring if the applicant currently receives or has ever received “medical disability benefits.” Anyone who checks “yes” to this question will need to clearly annotate the circumstances of the benefit showing no limitations. The Federal Air Surgeon acknowledges that there are many applicants who legitimately receive benefits without having any aeromedical limitations or disqualifying conditions. The Agency will now broaden their database search to include all government databases (i.e., DOL, Veterans Administration, Social Security for benefits), instead of limiting to the national driver’s registry, to pursue their effort.

Virtual Flight Surgeons(VFS)

Should you require assistance on this matter, you can contact the aerospace medical professionals at the Virtual Flight Surgeon (VFS) for further guidance concerning your medical situation and completing the questions discussed above. The VFS can be reached at 866-AEROMED or aviationmedicine.com.