Drone Laws Set Up Clash Between Feds and Local Authorities

December 28, 2015, 2:40 PM UTC
Inside The UAS Mapping 2014 Reno Symposium
A DJI Spreading Wings S900 multirotor drone flies at the Turf Farm during the UAS Mapping 2014 Reno Symposium in Reno, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. The first mapping calibration test course for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be established by American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) at the Reno Stead airport, an FAA-designated UAS test site, in conjunction with the UAS Mapping 2014 Reno symposium. Photographer: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Chip Chipman — Bloomberg/Getty Images

With more than 1 million new drones expected to take flight after the Christmas holiday, a battle is stewing between federal and local regulators about how to best regulate the new technology.

The Federal Aviation Administration is muscling in on local and state laws regarding the regulation of drones—still a nascent form of technology that has lured companies like Amazon.com (AMZN) and casual users, according to the New York Times. But what hasn’t yet been determined: how to best allow the technology to soar without risking life and limb to those on the ground.

The FAA is aiming to establish greater control of the technology, earlier this month issuing a sweeping statement that says local and state laws should “be consistent with the extensive federal statutory and regulatory framework” pertaining to the airspace.

That may be giving the feds a little too much credit. Local authorities lament federal authorities aren’t enforcing the rules, and that’s why cities like Miami are aiming to tackle the issue themselves, the Times reports. Over 20 states have implemented their own drone laws this year alone while many cities have also approved their own tough regulations.

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