Don't Drink and Drone in New Jersey
If you insist on flying your drone, you better do it sober—in New Jersey at least. On Monday (his last day in office) Governor Chris Christie signed a new bill into law that makes it illegal to fly a drone while drunk. If you operate your drone with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 (the same legal limit for driving a car) you could be fined $1,000 or face up to 6 months in jail.
The law aims to tighten restrictions on the use of drones: In addition to making sure that all drone activity takes place sober, it also prohibits flying drones near prisons or “in pursuit of wildlife,” according to Business Insider. That means that you can’t use your drone to chase deer, bears, or the occasional squirrel that has wandered too close to residential areas (or any other wild animals for that matter) and you especially can’t do it after chugging a few beers with friends at the local watering hole. Just leave the drone—and the animals—alone if you plan to have a wild night out on the town.
Restrictions on drones are becoming more and more pressing: 38 states have considered laws that would curtail when and how people can fly their drones. But not everyone is using drones to spy on wildlife after a night out at the bar. Drones actually have some useful applications in the food world: Wineries have employed drones to help monitor the health of grape vines, and now that bee populations are dwindling some scientists think that tiny drones could be used to help the remaining bees pollinate plants. Of course, people have been long been using drones to deliver food, a service which is already widely available in many parts of Asia.
So yes, drones are useful, and you are still perfectly welcome to explore all the ways in which this emerging piece of technology can improve your life. But if you’re living in New Jersey (though many states may soon follow Christie’s example) you just can’t do it after hitting the bottle.