Earlier this month, Chicago passed strict drone ordinances all but prohibiting drone hobbyists from flying within the city limits, and it looks like New York City will be right behind it as it debates a similar drone regulation bill at a council hearing on Monday.
The bill, introduced by Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Queens) already has 24 co-sponsors out of the 51 members, the New York Post reports.
The bill looks similar to that passed in Chicago, but goes even further. Like Chicago, the bill proposes to restrict drones from:
- flying at night
- operating within five miles of any airport and within a quarter mile of schools, houses of worship, hospitals and “open-air assemblies”
- flying out of line of operator’s site
- conducting surveillance by private individuals
- carrying weapons
- flying higher than 400 feet
But in addition to those restrictions, NYC’s proposed drone regulation prohibits the use of drones to distribute advertising, and states that users must notify law enforcement within 10 hours of any mishap involving a drone. Violators of the regulations could be charged with misdemeanor criminal charges, and be subject to penalties of a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Unlike Chicago, the New York City bill does at least propose a collaboration with the Parks Department to provide some spaces where drones could be flown legally.
“The legal side of me is always looking to put in a bill that’s actually got a good chance of passing, an outright ban on something to me is a real hard way to go about a proper balance,” Vallone said in a statement published on his website. “This bill was put in with the intention of trying to find a balance of places that really need to be protected and giving people a place to fly these if they so choose to do so for their recreation.”
Vallone views his bill as a temporary measure, pending the FAA ‘s release of clear drone regulations. “With the absence of federal, or FAA, guidelines, then we as the greatest city have to take steps to protect ourselves. Once we have our hearing – let’s be positive – the bill gets passed and becomes law, it still would be preempted or superseded by whatever FAA guidelines come out,” Vallone’s statement says. “But hopefully they would take note of the steps we took as a city.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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