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FAA Chief Quits After Driving Drunk

The head of the Federal Aviation Authority was meant to set an example after incidents involving air traffic controllers.

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By Luke Walker

12/07/11

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Chief Federal Aviation Authority Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt, who was arrested Saturday evening for drunk driving, resigned yesterday. Cops caught him driving on the wrong side of the road only two blocks from the Fairfax, VA police station, and the FAA placed him on leave Monday morning. In a personal statement from Babbitt given to The Fix, he says of the FAA, "They run the finest and safest aviation system in the world. I am confident in their ability to successfully carry out all of the critical safety initiatives underway and the improvements that the FAA has planned." His resignation follows widening scrutiny of airline safety after several incidents involving FAA employees. After the 2009 crash of Flight 3407 in Buffalo, federal inquiries blamed "inattention in the cockpit." Air traffic controllers investigated include one accused of drinking on the job in Colorado, and another caught sleeping on the job in Virginia. As the most senior FAA official, Babbitt was held responsible for leading by example in his personal life.

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