In a step furthering the FAA’s new compliance philosophy, the agency published guidance encouraging voluntary disclosure for violations of anti-drug and alcohol misuse prevention (D&A) programs regulated by Part 120.
Employers and contractors are eligible to participate in the voluntary disclosure reporting program (VDRP). Eligible notifications will disclose an inadvertent violation within 24 hr. of a discovery that has been promptly addressed.
The program is run outside the “general” FAA VDRP program, which specifically exempts voluntary disclosures of D&A program and hazardous materials violations from its web-based submission system. D&A VDRP notifications are processed by the Aerospace Medicine (AAM) Industry Drug Abatement Division (AAM-800).
While separate, requirements and processes are similar to the traditional program. Written notification should include a description of the violation, verification that the noncompliance has ceased, a brief description of immediate action taken, evaluation of any systemic problems, root cause and corrective steps required, and identification of the person responsible for implementing the corrective action.
As with the web-based program, initial notification will be followed by FAA acknowledgement and a request for a more detailed report by the regulated party within 10 working days.
If a disclosure is rejected, the regulated party may request a review of the decision within 10 business days. The FAA may use any rejected disclosure as evidence in an enforcement action.
A 2015 FAA directive established the new “compliance philosophy” and set a preference for correction over FAA enforcement. Since its publication, FAA’s Flight Standards has revised and issued guidance seeking to implement the “engaged, solution-oriented, outcomes-based approach” in order to “conserve FAA enforcement resources for intentional, reckless, criminal and uncooperative behavior.”