With any new advancement in technology, it not only brings with it a raft of anticipation and excitement but also throw up quite a few questions regarding how and when they can be used – and drones are no different.
Drones are used for both recreational and business purposes including; aerial photography, research, search-and-rescue, building inspections, construction surveys though more recently, companies like Google, Walmart, and Amazon have been testing drones for deliveries.
Of course, with greater use of drones the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is keen to ensure that the U.S. maintains its position as one of the world’s safest airspaces as concern grows that a drone may one day collide with an aircraft, either civilian or military.
But even though strict regulations exist about where drones can be flown and restrictions govern things like height and speed; but what about if you have been drinking, are you at risk of getting a DUI?
DUI & DWI for Drone Users
As it stands, a person cannot currently be charged with a DUI/DWI for driving a remote-controlled car because that car is not considered to be a motor vehicle for transportation purposes – so would the same apply for a drone seeing as they are not used for human transportation?
Perhaps the concern is greater due to the potential problems that can arise with drones occupying already busy airspace and the potential for accidents; in the same way that if remote-controlled cars shared public street lanes with regular vehicles?
However, as it stands there are no specific laws that cover this issue, but, don’t think this means you are immune from prosecution as flying a drone while intoxicated is likely to fall under the reckless and/or careless operation of an Unmanned Aircraft (UA) with potentially stringent penalties.
The FAA currently addresses operating an airplane while intoxicated, which carries harsh, federally mandated penalties including potential prison time and/or $25,000 which soon could be applied to drone operators and other non-authorized aircraft.