USA may soon hold drone users legally accountable through register


The USA may soon bring in a register for owners of drones, in an attempt to create ” a culture of accountability and responsibility.”

Anthony Foxx, the United State’s Secretary of Transportation, has said that a taskforce has been created to analyse whether a system should be put in place to tie owners to their drones with legal responsibility, how it would be done, and what kind of drones would require registering.

With an expected surge of drone sales this Christmas, they need to decide whether smaller, toy drones would also need to be registered on the proposed plan.

There is a new urgency to decide on the future of drone ownership, because of recent cases in which drones have actually hindered the work of the emergency services.

“We feel the urgency here is sufficient for us to move as quickly as we possibly can,” said Mr Foxx. “Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility , especially with new users who have no experience operating in the US aviation system. It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.”

Drones reportedly interfered with the helicopters used by fire fighters who were tackling the recent forest fires in California, and the helicopters had to be downed.

However, the governor of California dismissed some previously proposed laws which would allow the emergency services to electronically jam drones in disaster areas.

The taskforce looking into the registry of drones has also been criticised, especially by a lawyer of the National Press Photographer’s Association, who told the BBC that many offending drones don’t get recovered, and so registry would not help when trying to make people accountable.

The lawyer, Mickey Osterreicher, added that “you really can’t legislate against stupidity.”

The movement toward registry does, however, have the support of several other groups, including the likes of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.