Two bills regulating drones are being considered in California

Drone insurance and accident liability could be mandatory

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Two bills were proposed last week in an attempt to make drone operation safer for Californians. If both are passed, the first bill would require drones to sport license plates and have insurance, while the second would oblige drone pilots involved in accidents to leave their contact information much like drivers involved in auto accidents.

Assemblyman Mike Gato (D-Glendale) authored the first bill. The bill, once approved, would require drone operators to purchase relatively inexpensive insurance policies “sold at the point-of-sale,” much like auto insurance.

Gato’s bill would also require drones with GPS capabilities and of a certain size to have automatic shut-off features should they approach airports.
The second bill was suggested by Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), who wanted to prevent any “drone hit-and-run incidents.”

“If a drone breaks down, runs out of power or crashes into something, the operator needs to do the responsible thing and come forward and identify himself to the victim and to the police. This bill will make that responsibility the law," Chau remarked in a statement.

The bills were introduced following several disastrous incidents that involved drones in the previous year.  Drones interfered with aerial firefighting efforts during the Lake Fire in San Bernardino County around June 2015. In another incident in Pasadena on Sept. 12, 2015, a drone crashed into a girl barely a year old, injuring her.  On Oct. 26, 2015, a drone hit power lines in Hollywood, cutting power off to hundreds of residents in the area.

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