New law in Japan makes it illegal to fly a DRONE while drunk and threatens to fine or imprison anyone who is caught
- Operating a drone while drunk could land users in jail or hit with a $2,800 fine
- Rules also outlaw performing dangerous stunts, like flying drones into a crowd
- Drone users aren’t allowed to fly UAVs near airports, cities or military facilities
Driving a drone while drunk is now illegal in Japan.
This week, Japan’s parliament passed new legislation outlawing the practice, as it works to control dangerous operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the BBC.
If anyone is caught flying a drone under in the influence of alcohol, they could be slapped with a fine of up to 300,000 yen, or approximately $2,800.
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Driving a drone while drunk is now illegal in Japan. The country’s parliament passed a proposal outlawing the practice, as it works to control dangerous operation of unmanned aerial vehicles
They could even face up to a year in prison for driving a drone while drunk.
According to the new rules, performing dangerous stunts could also get users slapped with fines of up to 500,000 yen, or about $4,610.
This includes flying a drone over crowds and maneuvering it to swoop down unpredictably.
Officials said the penalties apply to drones weighing more than 200g.
‘We believe operating drones after consuming alcohol is as serious as [drunk] driving,’ a Japanese transport ministry official told the AFP.
The law also lays out when and where consumers can operate their drone.
For example, they’re required to obtain permission from the minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism before flying a drone near airports, city centers and airspace above 500ft.
The law also lays out when and where consumers can operate their drone. For example, they’re required to obtain permission from officials before flying a drone near airports or city centers
Drones also cannot fly within 985ft of Japanese military bases, U.S. military and ‘defense-related facilities.’
The rules come as Japan sees a rising amount of drone usage as well as related accidents.
In 2017, an industrial-sized drone was deployed at a “robot festival” in Ogaki city in central Japan and was supposed to shower small children with sweets.
But the device, operated by a qualified individual, injured six people after plunging 10 metres (33 feet) to the ground.
Japan has also had to confront issues with tourists flying drones in congested tourist areas like Kyoto.
Last month, Japan passed a set of laws to ban drones over Tokyo 2020 Olympic sites and US military facilities, after banning them over key facilities like the Prime Minister’s Office and the Imperial Palace.
WHAT IS THE US GOVERNMENT DOING TO IMPROVE DRONE TECHNOLOGY?
President Donald Trump signed a directive in 2017 to establish the ‘innovation zones’ that allow exemptions to some drone regulations, such as flying over people, nighttime flights and flights where the aircraft can’t be seen by the operator.
States, communities and tribes selected to participate would devise their own trial programs in partnership with government and industry drone users.
‘Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace,’ US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a statement.
Ms Chao, who called the rapidly developing drone industry the biggest development since the jet age, said about 150 applications were received.
Ten sites have been included in a the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program.
Selected were the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; the cities of San Diego, California, and Reno, Nevada; state transportation departments in North Dakota, North Carolina and Kansas; University of Alaska-Fairbanks; the Center for Innovative Technology in Virginia; Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority in Memphis, Tennessee; and the Lee County Mosquito Control District in Fort Meyers, Florida.
North Dakota lieutenant governor Brent Sanford said the program will spur more commercial investment and ‘allow us to explore new uses for unmanned aircraft.’
He envisioned drones helping with oil field, flood and weather monitoring, and ‘finding missing persons.’
The unmanned aircraft industry has pushed for relaxed restrictions, and the Trump administration has said current regulations have limited drone use, forcing companies to test overseas.
Steven Bradbury, a lawyer for the federal Transportation Department, said drones have caused some ‘apprehension’ with the public but one of the initiative’s biggest goals will be increased ‘community awareness and acceptance’ of unmanned aircraft.
Mr Bradbury said there is no direct federal funding for the test program.
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