New Jersey Outlaws Droning Under the Influence
Drone technology is progressing faster than laws regulating it can keep up with. But New Jersey is anticipating at least one mess made possible by the rise of unmanned aircraft: droning under the influence. As Reuters reports, piloting a drone while drunk is now illegal in the Garden State.
The law was signed by Governor Chris Christie on his last full day in office. It states that the same alcohol rules applied to drivers must also be followed by drone pilots. That means anyone maneuvering a remote-controlled copter with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher faces up to six months in jail, a $1000 fine, or both. The same goes for drone pilots operating their aircraft while drugged.
Even without factoring alcohol into the mix, the list of disastrous drone incidents is long. Since they first become popular with the public several years ago, unmanned aerial vehicles have crashed or nearly crashed into planes, crowds, natural landmarks, and world leaders.
New Jersey is the first state to pass legislation that bans drinking and droning, though at least 38 states are considering passing some type of drone restrictions this year. In addition to keeping people from piloting drones while intoxicated, the law also prohibits flying them near prisons or using them to harass wildlife.