New FAA Regs: Safety advocates say the rules are not strong enough
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented a set of regulations on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, to prevent pilots from flying while dangerously fatigued. Safety advocates have fought for these rules for more than 20 years and say that, despite the new rules, the issue of pilot fatigue remains an on-going, unresolved problem.
According to FAA officials, the restrictions will avoid approximately 1.5 accidents annually, which amount to saving six lives each year. It claims the regulations will also serve to improve pilots' health and job requirements. Aviation attorney Mary Schiavo told ABC World News Tonight that the regulations have a long way to go to substantially impact safer travel and do not address the issue of commuting pilots—those pilots who travel long distances just to begin their workday.
The regulations will limit the amount of time a pilot can be on duty and will require a minimum of 10 hours of rest between scheduled duty periods. The FAA is allowing carriers two years to adapt to the regulations and estimates that the changes will cost the airline industry $297 million over the next ten years.