Credit Rick Wilking/Reuters
The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday announced new rules that will require nearly all owners of remote-controlled recreational drones to register in a national database, an attempt by the agency to address safety fears about the machines.
Federal officials have rushed to issue new rules on drones before the holidays, when an estimated 700,000 new drones are expected to be bought. Drone owners will be required to submit their names, home addresses and email addresses with the F.A.A., disclosures meant to nudge users to be more responsible, officials said.
âUnmanned aircraft enthusiasts are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,â Anthony Foxx, the secretary of the Transportation Department, said in a conference call. âRegistration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely.â
The rules, the first of their kind for recreational drone users, generally follow recommendations submitted by a task force last month. The group included drone makers, aviation and hobbyist groups.
The F.A.A. will introduce the website for registration on Dec. 21; registering will be free for the following 30 days. After that period, the fee for each individual drone user will be $ 5 for a three-year certificate of registration. Anyone who owned a drone before Dec. 21 will be required to register a machine that weighs between half a pound and 55 pounds by Feb. 19, 2016.
People who get a drone after Dec. 21, which includes anyone who gets a drone for Christmas, will be required to register before their first flight. There will be an option for owners to register by paper and the rules only apply to those over the age of 13, though children are permitted to fly under their parentâs registration.
As consumer and commercial drones increase in popularity, the government is taking more steps to address safety concerns and regulate the aerial vehicles.