Saturday, December 26, 2015

Got a New Drone or Hoverboard For Christmas? You Better Read This!

For new drone and hoverboard owners there are several key laws that you need to be aware of in order to keep yourselves and your children safe and out of trouble!

They are two of this year’s must-have holiday item, coveted by children and adults alike. Retailers are promoting them heavily online and on catalog covers, and they are an increasingly common sight. But before you take that shiny new drone out for your first flight or take that hoverboard for a spin around the block you had better know the laws related to usage or you may face heavy fines!

Register Your Drone And Know Your Responsibilities

We've covered a lot about the new drone registration laws and while many of us may not totally agree with it, it is a law that you should be aware of especially since it cares some major fines and penalties! The online process should only take about five minutes, and the $5 cost covers any number of drones you own for three years. Once registered, write or affix your registration number to your drone, and carry a physical or digital version of your registration card when you fly.

Just remember that anyone over the age of 13 must register their drone regardless of size. The actual min weight is only 1/2 a pound or so and a maximum of 55lbs. You are also limited to a flight ceiling of 400ft, and must maintain visual contact with your drone at all times.

For more regulations be sure to checkout some of the FAQ's so you are fully aware of what you can and can't do with your drone. If you still have questions the FAA is partnering with several industry associations to promote safe and responsible use of unmanned aircraft. You can read more about the Know Before You Fly educational campaign.

Hoverboards: You Better Know Your Local Laws!

Many new hoverboard owners may be shocked to find out that there are in fact several law regarding usage and in many places — from New York State to individual schools, malls and stores — they are actually illegal to ride!

Anytime a new and popular mode of transportation hits the mainstream we see a great deal of confusion when it comes to laws and legality of use on the roadways. The public often isn't aware that there are laws that actually regulate when, where and by whom a new device can be operated. In the cases of device like hoverboards the powers that be struggle to keep up with a sudden rise in popularity and existing laws may not clearly point to the device in question.

This is certainly true as it pertains things like motorized scooters and now hoverboards. Existing laws may not have mentioned them directly, therefore many new owners might not know that they are in fact covered by those laws.

In the case of the New York owners in areas like the Upper East Side and other parts of New York City, the state classifies them as motorized vehicles that cannot be registered, so riding them in public can incur a steep fine.

Such is also the case in California! Recently we saw a surge of people taking to Facebook to voice protest over what they think is 'a new way for the state to make money' when in fact the new law actually overturns old laws that had previously banned the usage of motorized skateboards.

The new law, which will take effect on January 1, 2016, was signed into legislation back in October. Filed as AB 604, the law defines “electrically motorized boards” as a new legal category (characterized by moving no faster than 20mph, carrying only one person, and being no bigger than 60 by 18 inches), and specifies that an operator must be at least 16 years of age to operate their hoverboard on any public street, highway, bikeway, or any other public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail.

The bill would also require electrically motorized boards to be equipped with safety equipment, as specified, and restrict the operation speed of electrically motorized boards. Any violation of the new law carries a penalty of $275 and possible confiscation of the device.

As you can see from these two examples the laws vary widely. Regulations will also vary widely as local governments and both public and private entities implement their own restrictions. So you certainly want to check with your local government as well as private entities like your property management or HOA's, retailers and any entertainment venues you might want to take your drone or hoverboard to.

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