New Jersey mulls law against operating drone while drunk

Commentary: The state legislature is expected to vote Monday on a bill to introduce a new kind of DUI.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Europe, Germany, View Of Drone With Camera Flying, Airborne

No more droning under the influence in New Jersey?

/ Getty Images

Do you wonder about some of the people who fly drones in your neighborhood and annoy the living being out of you?

Do you feel these people might be not all there -- or least a little the worse for wear?

Should you live in New Jersey, help may be close at hand.

On Monday, lawmakers will vote on a bill to ban drunken drone flying -- and, indeed, drone flying under the influence of drugs. 

The vote was to have taken place Thursday, but was postponed due to snow.

Since drones became many people's favorite plaything, there have been troubling incidents across the country.

There was the drone shot down by a Kentucky man who said it was spying on his daughters in the garden. (A court exonerated him.)

During wildfires, authorities have become exasperated when the misguided fly their drones overhead and interfere with rescue helicopters.

And then there have been cases when specific inebriation has been allegedly involved. For example, when a US government employee, reportedly not sober, lost control of his quadcopter close to the White House and managed to evade government radar.

In December, a new federal law was passed, requiring drone operators to register their flying vehicles.

This New Jersey law, however, takes a severe view of those who think they can operate a flying machine while impaired.

It punishes offenders with up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. The same sanction will apply to those who use their drones to endanger others or their property and wildfire chasers.

The Federal Aviation Administration has drone rules

As aviation attorney Jonathan Rupprecht points out, drunken drone operation may come under the aegis of several of those rules.

But as more and more drones are in the air -- estimates of annual drone sales are in the millions -- the likelihood of impaired operators likely rises.

Yet one more thing for police to deal with. 

Technology often complicates things, doesn't it?