San Diego Supervisors Back Steeper Penalties for Drone Violators

San Diego County will lobby for passage of state and federal legislation that imposes steep penalties on drone operators who interfere with firefighting efforts. Tuesday’s vote came one week after supervisors in San Bernardino County approved three $25,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) who flew drones near fires in the region this summer, hampering containment efforts.

“Seconds count when it comes to fighting a fire. And any interference in getting those fires out… those irresponsible individuals should be penalized,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

The board is supporting Senate Bill 167 by Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado, and Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Glendale, as well as House Resolution 3025 by Rep. Paul Cook, R- Apple Valley. Both would set up fines and jail sentences for drone operators who violate the rules. The board, however, steered clear of specifying support for companion state legislation which would allow first responders to disable or damage drones that interfere with emergency efforts.

Read more about Tuesday’s vote here.

Image Credit: Flickr User menegue, via (CC BY 2.0)