By San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board
The Federal Aviation Administration has the explicit right under federal law to issue emergency regulations related to air safety. As illustrated by the spate of cases involving drones imperiling fire response teams – including an incident Tuesday night at a Linda Vista restaurant fire – we are in emergency territory. Existing federal regulations are inadequate.
A tragedy is inevitable even if rules are tightened. Drones are so cheap that they are on their way to being ubiquitous. But far fewer tragedies are going to happen if drone operators realize they face dire consequences for deploying their craft and getting in the way of authorities as soon as they hear of a fire.
In coming months, lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington need to take up the issue of drone safety. But in the short term – say, today – it’s time for the FAA to step in.