College English Argument Creative Writing

Excerpt from Creative Writing :

Mandatory Drug Testing

In certain professional occupations, mandatory drug testing is not only a good idea, it is very important to public safety. There are good arguments on both sides as to whether all professional athletes should be tested for drugs -- or whether high school athletes should be tested. And in the business world, one could argue that drug testing is an invasion of privacy, and unless an employee is acting irresponsibly and clearly is ineffective, there is no good reason to require regular (or even sporadic) drug testing. But this paper takes the position that employees in certain professions -- airline pilots, bus drivers and heavy equipment operators -- should accept that mandatory drug testing is part of the job. The public safety is vastly more important than concerns over personal privacy issues, hence, the need for mandatory drug testing.

The Literature on Mandatory Drug Testing -- Airline Industry

Does the average American business traveler want to fly knowing the pilot of his plane is snorting cocaine or smoking marijuana before getting behind the controls of a 747? The answer clearly is no.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) insists on mandatory drug testing for airline pilots. According to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, "Drug testing is both a critical and a required safety measure that all operators must follow" (Ahlers, 2011). In an article published by CNN Travel, it is reported that pilots and flight attendants "…were far more likely to be excused from the airline's random drug and

A survey by the FAA showed that while only 5% of ground personnel have been excused from taking drug tests, some 25% of pilots and 44% of flight attendants were excused from taking drug tests (which are mandatory in the airline industry). That survey was conducted in 2008; also in 2008 16% of pilots and 12% of flight attendants were excused from taking tests for alcohol (Ahlers, p. 1). Only 4% of ground personnel opted out (for any reason) of testing for alcohol.

United Airlines came under fire by the FAA in 2011 when it was discovered that "…in at least 13 instances," employees were "…transferred to 'safety sensitive' jobs" (usually mechanics or ground-based flight crews) before the alcohol and drug tests were completed (Ahlers, p. 1). And of those 13 who were transferred prior to their drug tests were completed, "…six performed maintenance on United's aircraft" prior to Unite receiving "…negative test results" (Ahlers, p. 1).

United Airlines executives faced a fine of $584,375 for allowing pilots and flight attendants to skip out on drug tests. What are those professionals hiding? Why do certain managers let certain individuals avoid what all pilots and flight attendants are required to do? Are some management personnel at United Airlines doing drugs they should not do, and hence, they are helping pilots and flight attendants get away with breaking the rules? This is unconscionable and it puts the flying public at risk. Frankly, the fine should have been higher, up to a million dollars.

A peer-reviewed article in the journal Addiction reports that the odds of an accident occurring for airline employees "…who tested positive for drugs was almost three times the odds for those who tested negative" (Guohua, et al., 2011). This data relates to a study between the years 1995 and 2005. The most common drug to show up in a test of airline employees was marijuana (67.3% of positive tests showed marijuana); next was cocaine (23.9%), and 6.1% of the positive tests found amphetamines, Guohua explains (p. 1289). In that survey (which reviewed the "post-accident" drug tests of 4,977 employees) amphetamines were discovered in 3.4% of airline employees in 1995 but that percentage went up to 10.3% in 2005 (Guohua, p. 1287). That having been said, the authors note that aviation employees "as a whole" are less likely to use illegal drugs than those…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Ahlers, Mike M. (2011). FAA: United Airline's drug testing protocols flawed. CNN Travel.

Retrieved February 5, 2013, from

Central Lakes College. (2008). Heavy Equipment Operations & Maintenance. Retrieved February 5, 2013, from

DiMaggio, Charles, Baker, Susan, McCarthy, Melissa, and Rebok, George. (2009). Mandatory

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