With the FAA recently reporting its 1 millionth UAS registration, it’s no surprise that discussions about drone regulation are getting even more serious. Several states, including most recently New Jersey, have already enacted laws governing how unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can be flown within their borders. Many others are working on similar legislation.
The New Jersey legislation passed the state assembly last week and was signed by the governor on Monday. Operating a drone in New Jersey while drunk (blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher) or under the influence of “a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug” now comes with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six-months jail time. Any UAV flights that interfere with first responders are subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 18 months imprisonment.
The law’s steepest penalty involves conducting surveillance or gathering information around a correctional facility. If convicted, fines could be up to $15,000 and/or three to five years in jail. The law also clarifies that operating a drone in certain ways can constitute a violation of any restraining orders the operator may have against them.
Read the new law at the New Jersey Legislature.