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It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's. . . a Drone? FAA Hands Down Drone Regulations

In a sweeping move being criticized by drone enthusiasts, the Federal Aviation Administration has made drone registration mandatory starting December 21st, 2015. The new rule was handed down before the holiday season and is expected to add 700,000 unmanned drones to America’s skies.

The agency’s new rules are applicable to all drone owners who use their drones for recreation or hobbies. To register the drone owner must be a U.S. citizen, and the application for registration will be available online. To pay for the costs of the new rules, the agency will charge a $5 registration fee that will last for three years. Once registered, owners must fix their registration number to their drone before using it.

Legal Basis for the Law

In their justification for the new rules, the FAA draws on authority granted to it from the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. That law authorized the FAA to determine whether drones are safe in American airspace and to take measures to ensure they remain safe. Other federal law require aircraft owners to register their aircrafts with the FAA, including drones.

Even though it is a simple $5 registration fee, failing to comply with the new regulation and not registering a drone could bring stiff penalties. Potential penalties for non-compliance could be both civil fines and criminal sanctions. Civil fines could reach $27,500, and criminal sanctions could be fines of up to $250,000, imprisonment for three years, or both. It is not clear yet whether any group or person will take legal action to challenge the new rules.

Florida Law on Drones

Of course prior to the passage of these regulations Florida already took actions to regulate drone use in Florida air space. Under the new drone law it is illegal to fly a drone equipped with a camera over the private property of others. The law grants property owner a reasonable expectation of privacy on their property, and they are allowed to sue drone owners for violating the new law. If successful, a suing party can recover the attorney's fees needed to bring and win the suit.

Florida passed its drone law amid fears about what dangers drones present. Now that there are thousands of drones flying across the country, they pose the risk of colliding with an airplane, falling from the sky and injuring someone, and violating the privacy of others. With their new regulations, the FAA is taking the same posture as the Florida legislature.

Panama City Area Accident and Injury Attorney

At The Pittman Firm we are constantly evaluating the dangers posed to society. As accident and injury attorneys in the Panama City area, we play a vital role in ensuring that victims of negligence and accidents are justly and fairly compensated for their injuries. Holding negligent parties accountable is not only important for the victim, but to prevent future misconduct by others. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us.

See related blog posts: Major Ruling to Impact National Carmaker; What Are Contingency Fees?.


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