Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment
Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Los Angeles) Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment (DRONE Act) of 2016, passed the State Assembly by a 43-20 vote, and will now make its final approach to the Governor’s desk.
The bill’s passage comes at a time of crisis. Drones have continued to interfere with firefighting efforts, delaying water drops and causing fires to grow, including three separate incidents this week at the Rey Fire in Santa Barbara County. Earlier this year, a Lufthansa Airbus A380 reported a near-miss incident when a drone flew passed the aircraft at 5,000 feet as it approached LAX. And today, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) announced that a whopping 600,000 drones will be operational in the US in 2016.
The Drone Act of 2016
- Mandates that drones of a certain size equipped with GPS, feature automatic shut-off technology that would activate if approaching airports or designated fire zones. This technology already exists, and is critical to protecting commercial passenger flights.
- Requires drone insurance policies, starting in 2020, to ensure that if a drone hurts someone or damages property the victim can be compensated. This requirement is akin to the auto-insurance requirements under existing law.
- Requires all drone packaging to include the safety disclosures and FAA registration requirements.
“The DRONE Act seeks to protect our skies and our land. It further ensures that negligent drone operators be held financially responsible, whenever injuries, interference, or property damage occurs,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “This is a practical measure that will increase public safety without harming the growth of the industry.”
Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Utilities & Commerce Committee and the longest-serving current member of the State Assembly. He represents California’s 43rd Assembly District, which includes Los Angeles, Glendale, and Burbank.