Assemblyman Mike Gatto announced a comprehensive solution to the challenges that drones pose, The Drone Registration/Omnibus Negligence-prevention Enactment (DRONE) Act of 2016. The act would:
• Require registration of, and tiny physical or electronic license plates for, drones. All efforts to hold owners responsible (for example, for interfering with firefighting efforts) require this.
• Require inexpensive ($1, or so) insurance policies sold at the point-of-sale, much like CRV is collected for bottles and cans. This will ensure that if a drone hurts someone or damages property, the victim can be compensated, and is akin to the auto-insurance requirements under existing law.
• Mandate that drones of a certain size, and equipped with GPS capability, feature automatic shut-off technology that would activate if approaching an airport. This technology already exists, and is critical to protecting commercial passenger flights.
• Implement various other provisions designed to enhance responsibility and mitigate risk.
“If cars have license plates and insurance, drones should have the equivalent, so they can be properly identified, and owners can be held financially responsible, whenever injuries, interference, or property damage occurs.”
Last year showed that the nation’s laws must adapt to the reality that hundreds of thousands of plastic and metal vehicles will be overhead in the years to come. Several fires across the state worsened when drone sightings grounded firefighting aircraft. A drone operator in West Hollywood fled the scene after flying a drone into power lines, causing a power outage. And a drone fell from the sky in Pasadena, onto a mother pushing a baby carriage. “
One could imagine the auto industry balking at the idea of registration requirements at the turn-of-the-century, but the industry survived,” explained Gatto. “As technology evolves, so must our laws in order to protect our citizenry. This is a sensible measure that will increase public safety and encourage responsible use of drones in California.”
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. For more information, please visit www. asm.ca.gov/gatto.