Taking Flight: Unpacking California's Drone Laws in the Age of Technological Ascend
Does California have specific laws around the use of drones, considering their growing usage in various sectors?
Yes, California does have specific laws that govern the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones. Both state and local authorities regulate drone usage, in addition to federal regulations implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Some relevant California state laws include:
Civil Code § 1708.8: This law prohibits the invasion of privacy. It includes the entrance into the airspace above the land of another person without permission in order to capture an image or recording of the person engaging in a private, personal or familial activity and invading the privacy of that person.
Penal Code § 402: While not specifically mentioning drones, this law notes that every person who goes to the location of a disaster and, in so doing, hinders first responders, is guilty of a misdemeanor. This can be applied to drones interfering with emergency response efforts.
Government Code § 853: This law prohibits drones from flying less than 350 feet over state parks without a permit, with certain exceptions.
Several cities and counties in California also have their own rules regarding drone use. Generally, drone operators must comply with the FAA's rules for UAS, and depending on where and how the drone is being used, they might have to adhere to state and local regulations as well.
The drone laws are continually evolving to keep pace with the growth and development of drone technology, and users are encouraged to stay up to date with the laws in their specific jurisdiction. As with any legal matter, consult with a legal expert if you have specific questions or concerns about how these laws impact your drone usage.