The Government’s Rushed Drone Registry Will Be Ineffective and Unenforceable


Jason Snead

For millions of American families, Christmas morning is a time for children to marvel at the magic of Santa, for families to come together around the spirit of giving, and for adults to admit they are not too old for toys. But if you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who receive a drone this Christmas, the government wants you to make room for a new Christmas tradition: dealing with federal bureaucracy.

This week, the Federal Aviation Administration’s hastily formed and rushed drone registry task force produced its official report, calling on the FAA to mandate the registration of recreational drones – even those that are little more than toys.

The FAA plans to adopt the bulk of the task force’s recommendations and put them into effect just in time for Christmas. For those keeping track, that is less than two months after the FAA first announced its intent to regulate recreational drone use.

That remarkably fast timetable is possible because federal law allows agencies to bypass the normal notice-and-comment process in certain situations when the public interest is not served by the normally more deliberate pace of federal rulemaking. The FAA claims the rising number of close encounters and near-collisions between drones and civilian aircraft, particularly in proximity to the nation’s airports, is creating an exigency that can only be addressed via emergency rulemaking.

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