Drunk Droning Is Now Illegal In New Jersey

By Kelly Burch 01/19/18

People who are busted for droning under the influence can face a fine of up to $1,000 and six months of jail time. 

Silhouette of a man using drone outdoor with sunset

Drone technology has taken off as regulators scramble to keep up, and New Jersey has officially made it illegal to operate a drone while drunk. 

A bill signed into law by Governor Chris Christie this week forbids people from operating a drone if their blood alcohol level is higher than .08%, the legal limit for operating a vehicle in the state. In addition, the law makes it illegal for people to operate a drone if they are under the influence of "a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug,” according to CNN

People who are busted for droning under the influence can face a fine of up to $1,000 and six months of jail time. 

The drone law also made it illegal to use the aircrafts to survey near a prison, to interfere with first responders, or to hunt. Reuters reports that the bill was one of 109 pieces of legislation that Christie signed on his last day as governor.

Drones have become a focal point for law enforcement and regulatory agencies in recent years. Seventeen states passed laws pertaining to drones last year, and at least 38 more states will consider drone legislation this year. As the machines become cheaper and more readily available, drones are becoming more common. Sales rose 28% in 2017 over 2016. 

Criminals have been known to take advantage of the new technology. Recently a California couple was accused of using a drone to deliver drugs. 

“Our detectives did go out there and they conducted surveillance, which they do a lot of times when they get these tips,” Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback said at the time. “And sure enough they saw this drone flying, and what appeared to be this drone dropping or leaving some possible narcotics in a parking lot.”

In 2015, a drone delivery to an Ohio prison caused a brawl in the prison yard, which resulted in nine inmates being placed in solitary confinement.

Last fall, California made it illegal for weed dispensaries to deliver their product by drone. 

"Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human-powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles,” read the Commercial Cannabis Business Licensing Program Regulations released by the state. 

“Deliveries may be made only in person by enclosed motor vehicle. Cannabis goods may not be visible to the public during deliveries.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.