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Crime, Law & Justice

Drone operators could face stiffer penalties for interfering with aircraft

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People who use drones that interfere with conventional aircraft could be charged with a crime under a bill approved Monday in the Oregon Senate.

Drones can be a headache for pilots of conventional aircraft. Some airborne firefighting crews in Oregon last year even had to stay grounded when drones were spotted in the vicinity. The concern is that a drone could cause a plane crash, either intentionally or by accident.

Using a drone that interferes with aircraft is already a violation on par with a speeding ticket in Oregon. The bill moving through the legislature would create a new misdemeanor offense if the interference happens on purpose or if it happens a second time by mistake.   

The bill passed the Oregon Senate 27-0 and now heads to the House. The chief sponsor is Eugene Democratic Senator Floyd Prozanski.

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