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Safety Concerns Prompt New FAA Regulations for Drones

Due to heightened safety concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has mandated that drone owners display their FAA-issued registration number on an outside surface of the aircraft to ensure ease of identification. Prior to this regulation, which went into effect on February 23, 2019, the owner was required to place identification in the battery compartment of the drone, which meant opening the drone and searching for the battery compartment to locate the registration number.

The new FAA mandate is due to increased fear of drones injuring members of the public and safety personnel, and the potential for drones to conceal explosive devices. In these circumstances, it becomes urgent to find the owner quickly in an effort to mitigate further harm to the public. The small, unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAVs) have been a source of litigation and conflict. The government and various law enforcement agencies have attempted to implement measures to increase safety and awareness of the public when they choose to operate drones in public airspace. With the rapid evolution of technology, it has proved difficult to keep the laws concerning drone use current in real time because it is impossible to predict all of the potential mishaps or dangers that these new technological devices pose in the modern world.

The new requirements are an increased safety measure and a follow up to the 2015 regulation that required drone users to register their drones to easily identify individual drone owners, increase safety and reduce risk of harm to the public. The purpose behind this new FAA requirement is to aid all law enforcement in addressing public safety concerns that stem from a heightened concern that drones could be used for terrorist or criminal activities.

These new requirements also will assist with the ongoing potential for personal injury litigation. Drones, like any other technology, have the potential to malfunction or to be used improperly, therefore it is important to locate violators quickly. The more efficient the processes of locating the owner and operator of the drone, the greater the increase in the ability to mitigate harm or prevent harm from occurring in the first place.

© 2020 Wilson ElserNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 108


About this Author

Andrew Heck, Wilson Elser, Associate, Complex Tort & General Casualty, Construction

Andrew Heck has extensive experience defending general liability, transportation, product liability, construction defect and workers’ compensation claims in his diverse civil litigation practice.  Andrew has defended clients in those fields in a wide variety of settings, including against claims of catastrophic injury and wrongful death. 

Andrew provides his clients with the best possible representation by combining his understanding of their industry and operational concerns with his knowledge of the legal issues implicated in those fields in order to anticipate client needs,...

Christopher W. McClanahan Litigation Attorney Wilson Elser Law Firm
Of Counsel

Christopher McClanahan has a diverse civil litigation practice with significant experience defending product and general liability cases in New Jersey state and federal courts. Christopher has represented clients in numerous premises, motor vehicle and product liability cases, from the simple to the complex and involving claims ranging from minor injury to wrongful death.

While his practice is broadly focused, Christopher views each individual case with an eye toward timely and economical resolution. He is a team player who strives to exceed expectations by strictly adhering to client guidelines, keeping the lines of communication open at all times and proactively anticipating needs.