WHAT IS THE TORT LAW RELATING TO DRONES ACT?
The act was introduced by the Uniform Law Commission in June of 2018 and they are again meeting in March 2019. Currently the FAA controls the air space concerning drones and the ULC hopes to have their draft made lawful in each state.
The Tort Law Relating to Drones Act seeks to establish liability with the drone operator for damages associated with trespass by drone, violations of privacy by drone, and negligent operation of drones.
The evolving draft gives courts some guidance about what factors they should consider when deciding whether or not there’s been an aerial trespass by a drone. These include:
- The amount of time the drone was operated over the landowner’s property
- The altitude at which the drone was operating
- How many times the drone has been operated over the property
- The time of day the drone was operated
- The operator’s purpose in operating the drone over the property
- Whether the operation of the drone caused physical damage
- Whether the operation of the drone caused economic damage
- Whether the drone was seen or heard while it was over the property
- Whether the drone recorded or captured audio, video, or photographs
- Whether the landowner has regularly allowed operation of drones over the property
The Act also includes landowner responsibilities. These include the landowner’s responsibility to refrain from taking action to interfere with the flight of a drone over their property and the landowner’s cooperation in allowing the operator to retrieve his drone in the case of a forced landing.
“Ensuring that drone owners have the right to get their equipment back is a step in the right direction,” said Turner regarding the changes made to the most recent draft.
Ultimately, this new version of the Act does a much better job of protecting landowners without overly restricting drone operators.
Many of the violations could be eliminated by making it law that every drone operator be licensed by the FAA. Only a fraction of the operators are licensed. We keep our license up to date.