Using a drone, whether as a hobby or business project, seems harmless to most people. The reality is that the risks of midair collisions are high. Drone operators cannot see oncoming aircraft and do not have special tools to detect them. Also, the risks increase when the person is intoxicated. It's illegal to drink and drive, but is it illegal to drink and drone? Drone operators should learn more about the official regulations before they step outdoors.

Review Federal Regulations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets nationwide rules as to how aircraft are operated in the U.S. airspace. This is necessary to prevent collisions in areas where airplanes fly overhead regularly. These rules include the design, operation and maintenance of aircraft, which includes rockets, kites and balloons. Drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), are the most recent additions to FAA regulations.

There are many rules that affect how drones are flown. Operators cannot fly their machines higher than 500 feet. Those who want to fly drones for business purposes must obtain a certificate. Flying a UAS for fun requires that you register with the agency and adhere to general safety guidelines.

The Alcohol Restriction

The general rule is that drinking while droning is not recommended. People are expected to use common sense when operating a potentially dangerous machine. Alcohol is known to slow a person's reflexes and impair the ability to make sound judgments. If the flyer is intoxicated, the drone becomes a danger to any aircraft who enters the U.S. airspace.

Under Title 14, sections 91.17 and 91.19 of the FAA regulations, commercial drone operators are not allowed to operate under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They cannot fly within eight hours of consuming alcohol or exceed a blood alcohol level of 0.04 or greater. A police officer is allowed to administer a test and send the results to the FAA. If a violation is found, the FAA can terminate or block a person's ability to receive a UAS certificate. There is also the possibility of fines or imprisonment. If you are caught drinking and flying a drone, according to Summit Defense, pilots can be charged with “flying under the influence” or “FUI” and face up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 maximum fine.

The restriction of alcohol while flying a drone means that it is illegal to drink and drone. Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) are regulated and enforced by the law, so police officers and judges could get involved in an investigation. For all UAS operators, the main goal is to avoid controversy, which means that they should not drink and drone.

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