Transport Canada is proposing that anyone flying a drone ‘bigger than a tiny toy’ should have liability insurance, as the booming drone industry prompts safety concerns.
The organization has proposed a new regulatory framework, which is expected to be introduced in 2017, that would require anyone flying a drone that weighs over 250 grams to take out liability insurance, as well as registering their device and passing a knowledge test, CBC News
The new stringent regulations would mean that many recreational users operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) would fall under the new rules.
Transport Canada’s director general of civil aviation, Aaron McCrorie, said in an interview that there is a need to regulate so that “we don’t have a disaster,” adding that there has been a dramatic increase in both the number of people buying drones, and the number of users flying them dangerously close to airplanes and buildings.
McCrorie explained that there is an increasing need for insurance, as accidents begin to add up – the department has investigated 82 potential infractions so far in 2016 as of September 1, compared to one incident in the whole of 2010.
“We do have instances of these things crashing into vehicles, for example, so there has to be some means of accounting for the cost of those damages,” he said.
However, Andrea Robertson, a recreational drone user from Ottawa who is known as Lady Drone on YouTube, expressed her concerns over the need to find insurance to cover her UAV usage.
While Robertson admitted that new regulations were needed as drones can be dangerous, she said she had experienced difficulties in finding a policy to cover her in the event of an accident - suggesting that there may be a gap in the market.
“Because I’m a hobbyist, not a commercial flyer, I haven’t been able to find any insurance companies that will provide insurance,” Robertson told CBC News.
“The insurance companies, at this point, are only interested in commercial fliers.”
The proposed regulations from Transport Canada are still being drafted and could change, the report said, but staff members are working to develop licensing and exams before the regulations come into effect sometime in 2017.
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