In positive drone news, San Diego, California, has decided to take a reasonable stance on drones and their operation within city limits.
San Diego officials say the city’s proposed drone regulations strike a proper balance between boosting safety and respecting the rights of hobbyists, but a group of critics is calling the proposed rules irresponsibly weak.
The regulations, which the City Council is scheduled to consider April 10, would give local police new authority to cite reckless users of drones while also requiring the users to obey temporary flight restrictions during emergencies or special events.
“This will not curtail, limit or otherwise discourage any safe operation that is already legal,” Lt. Colonel John Valencia, director of the city’s Office of Homeland Security, told the council’s Public Safety committee last month.
I hope other cities look to San Diego as an example when they are setting their local drone regulations. Even reasonable regulations have critics and this case critics cite what they believe is a the lack of definition to the word “reckless.”
Critics also say the proposed regulations, which would amend the city’s municipal code, don’t define “reckless” use of drones carefully enough.
They say similar regulations in Los Angeles, which San Diego used as a model, were too weak to allow the city to prosecute the operator of a drone that was interfering with a police helicopter.
I think San Diego took the right tact when they stated they are using the FAA’s definition.
A city spokesman said San Diego plans to use the FAA definition of “reckless,” which is “to endanger the life or property of another.” He said local police will have to make the judgement whether that has happened.
Overall, this is positive news for the San Diego drone community; a community that Drone Universities is proud to be a part of because we regularly run our drone training courses in the San Diego area.