October 18, 2017

Duckworth, Perdue Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Airplane Safety for Pilots and Passengers


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) to improve airplane safety by improving compliance with the Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996 (PRIA), which requires airlines to obtain the motor vehicle driving record of pilot applicants from the National Driver Register (NDR) before allowing that individual to begin their service as a pilot. The Senators' bipartisan Pilot Records Improvement Enhancement Act of 2017 would streamline the hiring process for both pilots and air carriers by providing carriers with secure and appropriate access to National Driver Register (NDR) records through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

"As a pilot, I understand how important it is that airlines check a pilot's driving record before he or she is responsible for the lives of others aboard an aircraft," said Duckworth. "Air carriers and pilots often struggle to access the necessary driving records of a pilot applicant, which not only causes unnecessary delays in the hiring process, but can also threaten public safety. I'm proud to work with Senator Perdue to ensure airlines can more easily access these records and I'll continue working to protect the safety of pilots, crew members and passengers across the country."

"Our country's aviation infrastructure is top-tier,"
said Senator Perdue. "By taking the burden off of state officials to provide pilots' driving records to airlines, we are streamlining the government requirements for the pilot hiring process. We need common-sense policies like this to ensure the United States continues to be a leader in aviation."

The National Driver Register, which is governed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Department of Transportation, maintains information about drivers who have had their motor vehicle operator's license suspended or revoked, or have been convicted of serious driving violations such as a DUI.

Duckworth has made improvements to airport and airline safety a priority as a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. In April, Duckworth pressed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to explain why the Department of Transportation was delaying implementation of a rule that would protect the rights of disabled commercial air travelers. Months later, she pushed back against efforts to reduce the number of training hours that passenger airline pilots are required to log before receiving a pilot's license. Her bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act was included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2017. This legislation would support women and families nationwide by ensuring breastfeeding mothers traveling through large- and medium-sized airports have accessible, clean and convenient lactation rooms to use.