Bill Tightens Regulations on Drones in NJ
As concerns about drones flying near passenger jets and large crowds continue to mount, one Garden State lawmaker is pushing a plan to restrict where the unmanned aircraft can operate.
State Sen. Richard Codey (D-Livingston) says he's ready to introduce legislation stating that any drone sold to an individual or business entity in Jersey “cannot operate above 500 feet and within 2 miles of protected air space. It cannot go over any stadium with a seating capacity of over 30,000 people.”
The bill would require geo-fencing technology be installed in drones sold in New Jersey, which would define geographical barriers to make sure they couldn’t fly in restricted zones.
"Just recently at the U.S. Open...a drone crashed into the stands during a match. This is new technology, it’s a new world, and it’s a new world since 9/11, we need to put parameters on these drones,” Codey said.
His legislation also stipulates a retailer is required to post a sign spelling out the regulations. Retailers must also give every customer a written notice of the new law as well as the FAA safety guidelines for model aircraft, since they do not yet have specific guidelines for drones.
Another companion bill calls for a resolution to be passed urging the FAA to enact policies prohibiting drones from flying around populated and sensitive locations.
The restrictions would not apply to law enforcement agencies, U.S. armed forces, fire departments or emergency management groups.
“Drones can be a real problem,” Codey said. “Some of these drones got into the airspace of the White House, and even one crashed on the property. There’s been occurrences of drones flying over parades and crashing into the crowds."
Violators of the proposed new rules could face up to $10,000 in fines, and up to 18 months in jail.
The bill will be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes in November.