Sometimes you just have to sit back and ask yourself: wtf? The government has now regulated drones to the extent that you are required to register your drone if it weighs between .55 lbs. and 55 lbs. Your registration must be completed by February 19, 2016, or face possible civil and criminal penalties of up $27,000 and 3 years in prison. Sit back and let that sink in for a second.
If you use your drone for “commercial purposes” like a wedding photographer, then you have to submit your registration via snail mail while “non-commercial” drone owners can register online ($5 fee).
Upon registration, you will receive an aviation number and you are suppose to mark your drone with that number. Yes, like the numbers you see on the tail wing of planes. I know, keep shaking your head.
Now, the idea of the drones is to control what the FAA believes is an out of control hobby. I guess we are done with the War on Drugs and have now graduated to the War on Drones. Safety is the key issue with the FAA and the incident of a drone that landed on the White House lawn or was to close to the President’s motorcade makes sense. However, I’m guessing the government has the technology to knock any drone out of the air if it gets to close to the White House or the President.
Now, the issue per the FAA is safety. Motorcyclists complain about safety every single time we crank up our bikes. Sure, cagers are registered but that hasn’t stopped them from cutting us off, hitting us, or even killing us. Last year I ended up having a total of 6 cases where the motorcyclist was a victim of hit & run. This year, I am already at 2 cases. So in my view, registration won’t make anything safer.
In Florida, you know what happens if you kill a motorcyclist? Nothing really unless you were drunk or left the scene of the accident (I’ll be blogging soon on hit & runs). Now, think of this- your loved one gets killed by someone who has a $10,000 bodily injury insurance policy. That means the maximum amount of compensation you will get from the insurance company is $10,000. Sure, you can sue this person and obtain a civil judgment, but chances are this person doesn’t have any money so suing them is a waste of time, money, and energy. Of course, that is assuming they have a valid insurance policy to begin with. However, don’t register your 1 lb. drone that you bought for your son at Toy R’ Us and face up to $27,000 in fines, maybe even prison!
At least the government has proven to me that when they really want to get something done, they can in a hurry. Well, I could go on forever with this subject, but the fact is I have to register my $80 drone with the federal government in a national database that eventually will be hacked and when there is a drone issue in my neighborhood, the feds just punch a few keys on the keyboard and within minutes will be knocking on our doors.
There goes your right to privacy which is another issue altogether that the government isn’t focusing on. A drone can hover over my yard and film me all day as long as the drone owner doesn’t profit from filming me. You also have to prove “damages” which is basically impossible not to mention attorneys aren’t free.
Sure, nothing prevents my neighbor from sitting on his roof all day watching me or getting a ladder and looking over the fence line, but with neighbors it is not the same as with a drone where the owner could live several blocks away and you have no idea who that person is.
Maybe the day will come where you kill a biker and the fine is $27,000 and up to 3 years in prison. In the meantime, make sure to register your drone. You don’t want to be the guy in prison telling other inmates that you are doing time for failing to register your drone.