IDOT: Safe Practices Needed As Drone Sales Increase

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SPRINGFIELD – Drones are predicted to be one of the most popular gifts this holiday season, and as a result, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is urging the public to follow safety guidelines.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that as many as one million unmanned aerial vehicles – drones or UAVs – will be sold during the holiday season. Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says while drones are fun to use and can be a great gift, they should be used properly.

“We are asking both recreational and commercial drone users to take some time to become familiar with a few commonsense rules and avoid running into turbulence,” Blankenhorn says.

IDOT reports they have already cited more than 650 incidents this year where aircraft pilots encountered UAVs while in flight.

To avoid more incidents, drone users should go through this preflight checklist:

  • Do not fly your drone more than 400 feet above the ground.
  • Always maintain a line of sight with the drone when you are flying
  • Federal rules prohibit drones from being flown within five miles of an airport, without first contacting the airport.
  • Avoid flying over large groups of people, including stadiums and sports events, or emergency response efforts, such as fires or traffic accidents.
  • Do not fly under the influence.

Recreational operators are also required by the FAA to register their drones prior to operation outdoors, if they are purchased on or after December 21. Information on these requirements and registration can be found here.

More information on drone safety can be found here.

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