A few days ago, I told you how firefighters battling a wildfire in Los Angeles were delayed by hobby drones, and more than a dozen cars were torched on a freeway. Now, California legislators want to make sure that never happens again.
"If our helicopter made contact with that drone, it can cause an accident, it can kill a firefighter or two, it could injure people on the ground," Randall Wright of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told NBC LA.
Senate Bill 168 announced Monday by state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado, and Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, would legally protect any first responders or law enforcement agents who have to destroy or remove drones from an area to deal with an emergency.
"People can replace drones, but we can't replace a life," Gaines said. "When our rescuers are risking their own lives to protect us, I want them thinking about safety, not liability."
The bill was added to a previous measure, SB 167, which asked legislature to consider fining drone users who interfere with firefighter over $1,000 and enforcing possible jail time.
"Drone operators are risking lives when they fly over an emergency situation," Gatto told NBC LA. "Just because you have access to an expensive toy that can fly in a dangerous area doesn't mean you should do it." Especially if that means putting other people in danger to fly close to a fire or emergency.
What do you think about this state bill? Is it excessive or just what we need to stop gawkers from doing some real damage? Let me know by leaving a note in the comments section below.