The Federal Aviation Administration wants a list of all U.S. owners of remote-controlled drones. The agency was expected Monday to announce new rules regarding civilian-owned unmanned aerial drones in an effort to track the devices back to their owners if it is involved in an accident, Lexington, Kentucky’s WKYT-TV reported.
First responders and transportation officials have said that near-crashes between the drones and much larger aircraft, including passenger planes, are a major concern, as unmanned aerial devices have become more widely available. Pilots reported 650 drone sightings this year – that’s quadruple the average seen in previous years, according to the FAA.
Jerry Zegart, a drone hobbyist in Kentucky, told WKYT-TV that bad actors are ruining the pastime for responsible owners. "There's still people out there doing stupid things, and as long as you got people out there doing stupid things, it requires more regulation,” he said. “It's as simple as that."
The new regulations come just over a week after a drone flying illegally over the National Mall in Washington, D.C., crashed near the White House. Police confiscated the drone and issued a criminal citation to a local resident Oct. 9, a U.S. Park Police spokeswoman said.
The crash was the ninth time that an unmanned aircraft was operated this year in the National Mall airspace, which is a “no-drone zone,” according to the FAA. The agency planned to make people more aware that all airspace within 15 miles of Reagan National Airport is restricted.
Regulation of drones varies at the state level. For example, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Oct. 3 three pieces of legislation that would have criminalized civilians' flying aerial drones over certain public and private spaces, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Unmanned drones flying over wildfires, schools, prisons and jails is a nuisance to firefighters and other official, but not worth the strain that new penalties would pose on the criminal justice system, Brown said.