California moves to limit drone flights over private property

California moves to limit drone flights over private property
© Getty Images

California is moving to prohibit drones from flying over private property as the federal government is mulling a rapid expansion in the use of the devices, The Los Angeles Times reports

The California State Assembly has approved legislation that would outlaw drone flights over private property at altitudes that are below 350 feet, according to the report. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The paper reported that the sponsors of the legislation argue that drone flights at lower attitudes than the threshold of their bill should be considered trespassing.  

"If you drive on someone's property with a car, you're trespassing. If you're looking on someone's property to break in, you're trespassing," Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) said during a debate on the measure in the California lower chamber, according to the report. 

"It makes no sense that a drone should be able to look in your window and the operator should not be guilty of the same trespass," Gatto continued. 

The legislation comes as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in the process of developing regulations for allowing a rapid expansion of the use of commercial drones in the U.S.

The agency has faced tremendous pressure to approve an expansion of nonmilitary drone use from companies such as Amazon, which has said the technology can be used to make speedier online deliveries. 

Police and other law enforcement groups are also seeking approval to use the technology, and the FAA has investigated several drone incidents that occurred in conjunction with photography at college and professional sporting events.

The agency said recently that it has approved more than 1,000 drone flights under a section of federal law that allows the Transportation Department to wave requirements for FAA approval for unnamed aircraft operations that take place outside of restricted airspace and below 200 feet.  

The California legislation is expected to go now to the state's Senate for final approval.