Tiny License Plates Proposed for Drones

A wave of laws aimed at drone users has struck in the last year.

In the city of Los Angeles, for example, you can't fly your done within 5 miles of an airport such as LAX without permission. And the Federal Aviation Administration requires you to register your drone if it weighs a little more than half a pound, even if you bought it at Toys R Us.

Los Angeles–area state Assemblyman Mike Gatto wants to take drone regulation even further.

He wants to require tiny license plates on the devices. Really. He wants to require insurance and registration, too.

Next thing you know, cops will be using lack of a tiny front license plate to pull over operators for "DWB," droning while black. We're just glad there are no windows to tint.

But seriously, Gatto announced his proposal this week. 

In lieu of actual tiny license plates, drone owners might be able to satisfy the legislation with "electronic license plates," his office stated. The requirement could help authorities identify devices and "hold owners responsible" if they violate the law.

About "$1 or so" in insurance would be required, too.

"This will ensure that if a drone hurts someone or damages property, the victim can be compensated...," according to the statement from the lawmaker's office.

He also wants GPS-enabled, "automatic shutoff technology that would activate if approaching an airport," Gatto's office states.

The FAA is not happy with such state and local rule-making, however, and it remains to be seen if federal authorities will take action to supersede such laws.

Gatto says he's responding to dangerous incidents in which drones have crashed, collided or come close to it.

"If cars have license plates and insurance, drones should have the equivalent, so they can be properly identified, and owners can be held financially responsible, whenever injuries, interference or property damage occurs," he said. "As technology evolves, so must our laws in order to protect our citizenry." 


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