Sacramento – Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), newly appointed Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection, today introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1662, to protect people from 'hit and run' drone accidents as recreational drones become more prevalent. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that nearly one million drones were sold during the holiday season.
“When you cause an accident in your car, California law says you have to stay at the scene and give the injured party and the police your identification,” said Assemblymember Chau. “If you lose control of your drone and someone gets hurt – or someone else’s property gets damaged -- then you should have the same duty to go to the scene of the accident, give your name and address, and cooperate with the police.”
In September 2015, an 11-month-old baby was injured in Pasadena, California, when a hobbyist’s drone crashed on the ground near a stroller causing shrapnel to fly into the baby’s head. According to news reports, the 24-year-old drone hobbyist, who was using his drone to view a nearby public screening of The Princess Bride, did the right thing by rushing over to the accident scene to help. But such a response is not required by law, and the incident was only one of many drone crashes and near misses reported in recent months.
“Unfortunately, as the number of drones in the air will only increase in the coming years, we are going to see more and more accidents,” said Assemblymember Chau. “And even with world-class safety features and training, accidents are still going to happen, just like on our roadways. If a drone breaks down, runs out of power or crashes into something, the operator needs to do the responsible thing and come forward and identify himself to the victim and to the police. This bill will make that responsibility the law."
Assemblymember Ed Chau represents the 49th Assembly District, comprised of the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City and portions of Montebello, and South El Monte.