Japan Prepares To Ban Flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Under the Influence of Alcohol

Drinking and droning? It could soon cost you up to a year in jail in Japan, where an amendment to the country’s civil aeronautics law being debated in the Diet would make it illegal to operate unmanned aerial vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. From a report: According to the transport ministry, there were 79 incidents involving drones in the last financial year. None of them involved a drunk operator but tighter restrictions were nonetheless regarded as a necessary pre-emptive move. “There are lots of different types of accidents that are reported each year but the majority are relatively minor and involve, for example, a drone operating on a predetermined route making an accidental landing,” a ministry official said, adding that there were 63 reports of accidents in 2017 and 55 the previous year.

“We have no records of someone causing an accident with a drone while drinking, but we do know that in the US about three years ago, a drunk person landed a drone in the grounds of the White House,” the official said. “We obviously want to avoid that sort of situation, so these new laws are designed to stop something before it happens.” Under the new rules, a drone operator will be legally required to carry out preflight checks of the vehicle and authorities will carry out on-the-spot inspections when an accident occurs.

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