A Game of Drones

Slack Davis Sanger founding partner Michael Slack authors an article in Trial magazine about the continuing proliferation of drones and how the current aircraft regulatory system is not equipped to deal with them. Industry groups have projected that the drone industry would generate $82 billion in annual revenue by 2025, dependent on the government adopting appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks.

Recent proposed FAA regulations establish minimum rules and standards for the operation of small commercial drones, but fall very short when it comes to safety. Additionally, proposed regulations do not adequately address recreational drone use or rule enforcement.

“Ultimately, the safety, security and privacy issues raised by noncompliant drone operators and hobbyists are more likely to concern local communities than the federal government, and offenses are more properly suited for local law enforcement authorities than the FAA,” Mr. Slack says. “Unfortunately, the proposed rules do not provide any guidance to local authorities on how to deal with enforcing drone regulations or handling drone mischief in their communities.”

How many local governments will wait on the FAA before enacting ordinances that meet their needs? Several cities have already passed ordinances dealing with local privacy issues and it is likely that other cities will address security and safety issues.

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