A top Democrat is proposing to give the Federal Aviation Administration new powers to police consumer drones just like the agency plans to regulate commercial ones.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) introduced the Consumer Drone Safety Act on Thursday in a bid to head off some of the near-collisions that have plagued airports and manned aircraft around the country. The bill would instruct the FAA to impose altitude restrictions on private drones, as well as limitations on where and when they can fly.
As many as 190 incidents have been recorded by the FAA in which personal drones have crashed, narrowly missed other pilots or flown close to sensitive infrastructure, such as power plants.
Feinstein vowed in December to introduce new legislation governing the use of private drones, and this effort appears to make good on that promise. Calling it a "loophole [that] must be closed," Feinstein said the FAA's statutory inability to regulate any drones other than commercial ones posed a threat to the nation's security.
In congressional testimony this week, FAA officials said they expect to come up with final rules for commercial drones in 2016.