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Drunk droning in the US state of New Jersey is now illegal

Infractions can be punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 (€815) fine.

Image: Izf via Shutterstock

DRUNK DRIVING HAS been a social taboo for decades, but New Jersey in the US has now added drunk droning to the statute books: outlawing the flying of unmanned aircraft after one too many drinks.

The law makes it an offence to operate a drone under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.

Infractions can be punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 (€815) fine.

The legislation, sponsored by Democrats in the state legislature, was signed into law by outgoing Republican Governor Chris Christie on Monday.

It also outlaws drones being flown in a manner that could endanger life or property, on or close to prisons, in pursuit of wildlife or interfering with a first responder.

“Drones have become increasingly disruptive, causing near-misses with aeroplanes, interfering with firefighter operations and being used to smuggle drugs and other contraband into prisons,” said New Jersey assembly member Annette Quijano.

Small remote-controlled drones range from being a toy to a sophisticated machine capable of performing acrobatic flights or shooting aerial footage.

It was one of more than 100 pieces of legislation signed by Christie on his last day in office before newly elected Democrat Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and US ambassador to Germany, takes office on Tuesday.

All drone activities within the United States must already follow Federal Aviation Administration rules and guidelines.

So far 40 states have enacted some kind of laws addressing drones, and threes have adopted resolutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The Consumer Technology Association says total drone sales are expected to increase 20% to a record 3.7 million units in 2018, bringing in revenue of $1.2 billion (€980 million).

© AFP 2018

Read: Just one prosecution over illegal drone use since regulations introduced

More: Australia is using drones to spot sharks before they attack

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