Friday, May 18, 2018

If you own or fly a drone in Ada County, a new law applies. Here's what to know.

Ada County passed a law that requires all operators of small unmanned aircraft — drones — to register the aircraft and obtain remote pilot certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The new law does not apply to model aircraft. It's unclear how many people in Ada County own or operate drones.

Additionally, the law prohibits drone operators from using their aircraft to harass, startle or annoy people; take people's pictures or record audio of people "in any place where the person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy."

The law is already in effect. Violations are an infraction and are punishable by a $100 fine. The Ada County Sheriff's Office will oversee enforcement, county spokeswoman Kate McGwire said.

The goal of the drone law is to augment FAA regulations and protect public safety and privacy, McGwire said. County Commissioner Jim Tibbs presented the law in response to several residents' complaints, she said. All three commissioners voted in favor of the law Tuesday.

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