Holding drone owners accountable for aviation accident injuries

When last we posted about drones and the dangers they pose to pilots and to the public in general, federal officials were mulling over proposed FAA regulations aimed at placing some type of oversight and controls on operators of the high-flying devices. You can now remove the word “proposed” from those regulations.

For the first time, owners of remote controlled devices, such as drones and model airplanes and helicopters must register their ownership of the devices or face sizable fines. The new FAA regulations may go into effect before Christmas when more than 500,000 drones are expected to be given as gifts.

One of the concerns officials have had about remote controlled aerial devices has been accountability. An aviation accident or interference with aircraft operations caused by a drone operated near an airport has been difficult to trace back to the owner of the device who might be miles away from the scene.

The new FAA regulations require every owner of drones and other remote controlled aircraft to register any device that weighs more than 250 grams. Registration must be completed before the device is flown. All drones, including those received as gifts during the holidays, must be registered by their owners by February 21, 2016. Owners who fly a device that is not registered will face hefty fines.

The anticipation is that the new rules will make it possible to trace a drone involved in a plane crash or other type of aviation accident or incident back to its owner. Individuals who have suffered accident injuries as a result of an accident involving a drone might now have recourse against the device’s owner. A Mesquite, Texas, personal injury attorney might be of assistance.

Source: Forbes, “Analysis: Drone Registration One Of Many Regulations Needed for $9 Billion Industry,” Kathryn Creedy, Dec. 15, 2015