Okay, all you beginner drone pilots take note: You need to be aware of local laws before you fly!
According to an article in the San Diego Tribune last week, local officials are proposing a ordinate to give law enforcement the authority to cite “reckless users”. The article goes on to say that the proposal is due to several incidents reported involving drones near airports and authorized airport pathways.
Spokespersons went on to say they are following suit with several cities across the U.S. and also mirroring the regulations that have been set up by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Although other cities have gone beyond federal guidelines in an effort to protect rights of privacy with regard to drone use.
One official stated that the current federal regs are simply administrative in nature, which means law enforcement officers have no authority to enforce the rules. Currently, police can only stop users if they present a danger to public safety but they cannot cite them. The proposed legislation would change that.
The cities new rules have been on the drawing board for a while after incidents presented dangerous conditions at numerous locations, including San Diego International Airport.
Other recent news reported a dangerous incident on an international flight from Paris. So it seems that it may be time for laws to be put into place. However, some see this reaction to isolated incidents as overkill.
Conviction for breaking these rules could result in a fine anywhere from $250 to $1000 depending on the classification of the violation. Drone advocacy groups call the proposal unnecessary and suggest that local entities spend time finding ways to enforce FAA regulations instead of creating their own.
Indeed even the federal agencies have warned against cities adopting a mix mash of policies that will cause confusion to commercial and hobby operators. There definitely is a need to a standard set of rules.
Drones laws have been passed in other California cities and there is discussion of possible state laws underway as well. Other cities outside the state the have been viewed as model cities include Miami, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Miami’s restrictions have been in place for about over a year now and mainly disallow flying a drone over a venue such as a sporting event or concert. It also places restrictions on payload that is design to detach from the drone. These are mainly commercial restrictions that don’t affect the average drone hobbyist, however the rules still apply.
Recently one of the biggest drone lawsuits ever was settled when Chicago-based SkyPan was forced to pay a $200,000 fine for violating FAA regulations. That’s not messing around! You could see where a need for consistent standards is required.
The past year or so we have seen the growth of the market increase very quickly so there is no doubt that other local entities will begin to consider regulations. Be sure to check with your local government and nearby airports for rules that could impact your fun – or your wallet!