Congressman Asks FAA to Stop Drone Interference with Emergency Response

As reported in The Hill, a Congressman from California is asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make it harder for commercial and hobbyist drone pilots to interfere with emergency response operations. As reported,

“First responders must have the ability to address wildfire activities quickly and be uninhibited by unforeseen circumstances, such as a civilian flying their commercial drone in the vicinity,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in a letter he circulated among members of the California delegation.

“Not only do these drones put first responder pilots’ lives at risk, they also prevent these firefighters from helping to contain wildfires and put the lives of ordinary citizens at risk.”

In the most recent Session of the Maryland General Assembly, the Assembly passed legislation prohibited any local regulation or restriction of drone use. MACo initially opposed the local preemption, and then worked with the House Environment and Transportation Committee to add an amendment requiring review of whether drone operations in Maryland are interfering with State or local public safety efforts.

The law as adopted includes MACo’s amendment, requiring The Department of State Police, the Maryland Aviation Administration, local law enforcement officials, and other appropriate local government officials to:

  1. Review the state of unmanned aircraft system recreational use in the State in an attempt to document incidents or patterns of the unauthorized or unsafe use of unmanned aircraft systems, including use that interferes with State or local public safety efforts or sensitive areas or facilities; and
  2. On or before December 31, 2018, report to the Governor and, in accordance with § 2-1246 of the State Government Article, the General Assembly on their findings and recommendations regarding changes to State law or local regulatory authority needed to support governance or enforcement efforts related to unmanned aircraft systems.

For more information on Congressman Schiff’s letter, read the full story from The Hill.

For more information on drone legislation passed in the Maryland General Assembly’s 2015 Session, see our previous posts on Conduit Street: General Assembly Passes Drone Bill With Study Amendment, and House Committee Approves Drone Bill With Law Enforcement Study.

For more information on commercial and hobbyist drone approval by the FAA, see our previous post, Federal Regulators Speed Approvals of Commercial Drone Use and this information from the FAA.