Drones Regulation Deadline Missed by FAA


By: Wayne Melnick

In the recent past, I blogged a series of articles regarding the possible legal and insurance ramifications of law enforcement drone usage. These included blogs on risk questions related to government drone usage how drones can be used to capture tough to obtain data, and North Dakota becoming the first state to legalize the less lethal use of force by drones.

As noted in the first blog, the Department of Justice was considering enacting guidelines for such use. In 2012, Congress instructed the FAA to integrate drones into US airspace. The Congressional deadline for the issuance of these regulations was on September 30, 2015. However, the FAA failed to issue the guidelines in question. Although preliminary rules for small commercial drones were proposed by the FAA in February, those rules have not been finalized.

What does this mean? It means that the use and operation of drones, both by governments and commercial businesses, remains a rocky, unsettled area of the law and that those entities using such devices do so at high risk. We will continue to monitor the regulation process. However, the original recommendation remains: Any time there is new technology that is emerging, it is imperative for both the insurer and the insured to review their current policy language to determine what is, and just as importantly, what is not, included in coverage.