Posted by Dan Meadon-Bower, Partner
Getting a drone for christmas? Make sure a criminal record doesn’t come with it!
Drones (of the airborne variety) are likely to be very high up on Christmas lists this year, and many of them are likely to find their way into the hands of people who have never operated one before.
The availability and relatively modest cost of such drones, coupled with a lack of knowledge as to the regulations which surround airborne drone use, have the potential to lead the unwary user into difficulties. Add alcohol to the mix and the recipe for disaster is complete!
Airborne drone use is also regulated, at least to some degree, with criminal sanctions possible if drones are misused. Much of the current regulation restricts use within urban areas, and within certain distances from other people and property, particularly if your drone is fitted with a camera, which means that popping out to the back garden for a “test flight” could well result in an offence being committed.
Also, if you are not an experienced drone user, the chances are that you might lose control of the drone and/or let it fly beyond your line of sight, both of which could result in criminal sanction as both of these eventualities have the capacity to cause serious risk of harm to others.
At the risk of sounding like a party pooper, there is a serious message here. Drones are amazing things and make great presents, but they are far from being toys and have the capacity to be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands and, analogous with fireworks on November 5th, need to be treated with a high degree of care and respect. With a small amount of care and circumspection, and in particular resisting the temptation to launch into your maiden flight whilst under the influence or without first having satisfied yourself that you are operating your favourite gift in a safe and responsible manner, you should reach New Year without falling foul of the law, or without incurring the wrath of your neighbours.
If you’re interested in drones, and how the law applies to them, why not listen to our Ahead of the Curve podcast episode with Philip Banks-Welsh:
If you have any enquiries regarding drones and the law, please contact Philip Banks-Welsh on:
01225 730 155 Email us