Drones are pretty fun toys and important tools in a growing number of jobs. They come in all sizes, they can have cameras and they can have grabbing claws. The four turbines holding it aloft make a buzz that sounds like the future, but now, in New Jersey, flying a drone while drinking is against the law.
The new law, which was put into place on January 16th, outlaws being inebriated while flying a drone. The reason for this new law is that as of December 2015 there were more than 770,000 registered drone fliers in the US. It's understandably fun because they are fairly easy to learn to control, but drones can cause real damage when they crash.
The basic facts of droning while drunk
For the casual observer, it seems amusing that so much effort would be placed into banning drinking while using a drone. What many may not know how much damage that a drone can do when operated incorrectly. Some drones can lift up to 165 pounds and while that is not available to regular consumers, that is a lot of weight and if it were to ram into your car or a person it could cause significant damage, injuries and even death.
In addition to drunk droning, the law also bans:
- Narcotic use while droning
- The operation of drones near jails and prisons
- Hunting with a drone
- Obstructing first responders with a drone
All violations of the law carry the same penalties: jail time of up six months in prison and a $1000 fine.
Drones are serious business
Drone use as a hobby or a profession is only going to get more and more popular. The FAA predicts that about 3,500,000 or more drones will be in operation by 2021. With the prospect of drones filling the air above us, we now we have to wonder how we will handle the technological and legal challenges that come with it. As for now, the bottom line is this: if you fly your drone drunk, no matter how high it goes, you are not above the law.