LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Drone operators in Los Angeles who break federal rules risk being criminally charged under a measure approved by the Los Angeles City Council.
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the council unanimously approved a regulation making it a misdemeanor to violate various rules already set by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Members said they want to prevent drones from interfering with firefighting helicopters and other manned aircraft.
“Drones aren’t the problem, but the operators are. And where they jeopardize public safety, they need to be regulated,” said Councilman Mitch Englander, who co-authored the measure with Council President Herb Wesson.
Deputy City Attorney Janet Karkanen said the FAA already imposes civil penalties, but the city’s rules will allow local law enforcement to criminally prosecute rule violators.
The city’s ordinance makes it unlawful to fly drones within a five-mile radius of an airport, limits drone use if it interferes with manned aircraft and requires that drones be flown within the operator’s line of sight.
The rules also prohibit using drones at night and flying them higher than 400 feet. Drones also cannot be flown closer than 25 feet from another person, except at take-off and landing.