BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  April 5, 2016


                ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PRIVACY AND CONSUMER PROTECTION


                                   Ed Chau, Chair


          AB 1662  
          (Chau) - As Amended March 3, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Unmanned aircraft systems:  accident reporting


          SUMMARY:  Protects people from "hit and run" unmanned aircraft  
          system (UAS) accidents by requiring UAS operators to remain at  
          the scene of an accident and provide their name and address  
          along with valid identification to the victim and the police.   
          Specifically, this bill: 





          1)Requires a UAS operator to stay at the scene of any accident  
            involving the UAS that results in personal injury or damage to  
            property; 



          2)Requires the UAS operator to immediately land the UAS at the  
            nearest location that will not jeopardize the safety of others  
            and specifies that moving the UAS does not affect the question  
            of who is at fault in the accident;











                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  2





          3)In addition, requires the UAS operator to do one of the  
            following:



             a)   Show valid identification (e.g., driver's license or  
               passport), if available, as well as name and current  
               address to the injured person; 



             b)   Locate and provide the owner of property damaged in the  
               accident the name and address of the UAS operator, and show  
               valid identification if the property owner asks the UAS  
               operator to show identification; or



             c)   Leave a written note on the damaged property that  
               includes the UAS operator's name, address, and a statement  
               of the circumstances of the accident as well as notify the  
               police or sheriff's office.



          4)Makes violation of the bill subject to a misdemeanor penalty,  
            including up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both;



          5)Exempts from the bill a UAS operated under specific  
            authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),  
            in accordance with the terms and conditions of that  
            authorization;



          6)Exempts law enforcement from the bill, including police and  
            fire agencies; and








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  3








          7)Defines "unmanned aircraft" and "unmanned aircraft system"  
            consistent with federal law.



          EXISTING LAW: 


          1)Vests the FAA with the authority to regulate airspace use,  
            management and efficiency, air traffic control, safety,  
            navigational facilities, and aircraft noise.  (49 U.S.C. Sec.  
            40103, 44502, and 44701-44735)  


           2)Requires, under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012  
            (Act), the FAA to integrate safely UAS operation into the  
            national airspace system by September 30, 2015, and to develop  
            and implement certification requirements for the operation of  
            UAS in the national airspace system.  (Public Law Number  
            112-095)  


           3)Requires, under FAA rules, as of February 19, 2016, federal  
            registration of a UAS before first flight outdoors, for any  
            UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than  
            55 pounds (approx. 25 kilos), including payloads such as  
            on-board cameras, and requires UAS owners to be at least 13  
            years old to register and to provide name, home address, and  
            email address.  Upon registration, UAS owners receive a  
            Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership along  
            with a unique identification number, which must be marked or  
            affixed to the UAS.  (14 CFR Parts 1, 45, 47, 48, 91, and 375)  


           4)Requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident  
            resulting in personal injury to stop the vehicle immediately  








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  4





            at the scene of the accident and provide to the injured person  
            and any police at the scene of the accident: a) his or her  
            name and address; b) the name and address of any injured  
            passenger; c) the registration number of the vehicle; d) the  
            name and address of the vehicle owner (if different from the  
            driver); and e) present identification, if requested.   
            (Vehicle Code (VC) Sections 20001, 20003, 20004)  


           5)Requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident  
            resulting only in property damage to stop the vehicle  
            immediately at the nearest location that will not impede  
            traffic or jeopardize the safety and: a) locate and notify the  
            owner of the property; b) provide his or her name and address;  
            c) and present identification, if requested.  If the property  
            owner cannot be found, then the driver must: a) leave a note  
            on the damaged property with his or her name and address along  
            with a statement of the circumstances of the accident; and b)  
            notify the police.  (VC 20002)  


           6)Requires a person who parks and leaves a vehicle which then  
            becomes a runaway vehicle involved in an accident to follow  
            the same "hit and run" provisions that apply to other vehicle  
            accidents.  (VC 20002(b))  


           7)Requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident  
            resulting in personal injury or death to report the accident  
            to the police within 24 hours, but if the vehicle is a common  
            carrier vehicle (i.e., bus, taxi, etc.) then the accident must  
            be reported on or before the 10th day of the month following  
            the accident.  (VC 20008) 


           FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  5







           1)Purpose of this bill  .  This bill seeks to protect people who  
            are injured or whose property is damaged in a UAS (or "drone")  
            accident by requiring UAS operators to remain at the scene of  
            the accident and provide their name and address along with  
            valid identification to the victim and to the police.  Similar  
            to California's vehicular "hit and run" law, if the accident  
            involves property damage and the owner cannot be found, the  
            bill requires UAS operators to leave their contact information  
            on the damaged property.  This bill is author-sponsored.



           2)Author's statement  .  According to the author, "Despite the  
            myriad practical applications for UAS, there is an undisputed  
            need for clear rules to protect privacy and public safety as  
            more drones enter the skies." 

          "UAS equipped with cameras, microphones, Internet connections,  
            and remote controls have enormous potential to invade personal  
            space and cause personal injury and property damage if systems  
            fail or operators use them irresponsibly over crowded public  
            areas, such as city streets, parks and public events.
            "Under current law, motor vehicle drivers are required to stop  
            and provide identification and their contact information if  
            they are involved in a vehicle accident that causes injury or  
            property damage.  An involved driver who flees the scene of an  
            accident may also be charged with a misdemeanor if the  
            accident involved property damage or a felony if the accident  
            involved personal injury."


           3)What are UAS?   The FAA defines a UAS as an unmanned aircraft  
            system and all of the associated support equipment, control  
            stations, data links, telemetry, and communications and  
            navigation equipment necessary to operate the unmanned  
            aircraft.  More commonly referred to as drones, a UAS is flown  
            either by a pilot via a ground control system or autonomously  








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  6





            through use of an on-board computer.  



           4)Proliferation of recreational UAS and new FAA registration  
            rules  .  UAS are widely available to the public.  Retail UAS  
            devices outfitted with cameras now range from roughly $300 to  
            $1,500.  The FAA estimates that nearly one million UAS were  
            sold during the December 2015 holiday season.  In anticipation  
            of the influx of UAS in the skies, the FAA issued new rules in  
            2015 requiring any UAS weighing between half a pound and 55  
            pounds to be registered with the FAA by February 19, 2016.   
            The new FAA registration rules apply only to "model aircraft,"  
            i.e., recreational UAS.  



            According to FAA Commissioner Michael Huerta, who led a March  
            2016 panel on the future of UAS at the SXSW "South by  
            Southwest" event in Austin, Texas, the FAA now has more than  
            400,000 UAS registrants, which surpasses the 320,000 piloted  
            airplanes currently registered with the FAA.  Upon  
            registration, the FAA issues a unique identifier, which must  
            be affixed to the UAS in a "readily accessible and visible  
            manner."  The unique identifier can then be used to look up  
            the UAS owner in the event of an accident, for example. 



           5)Future commercial UAS operation  .  While mostly still in the  
            experimental stages, the potential commercial applications for  
            UAS are growing exponentially.  UAS can give the news media  
            economical and environmentally friendly access to aerial views  
            of traffic, storms, and other events when compared to the  
            current use of helicopters and other manned aircraft.  UAS are  
            beginning to be used in the agricultural industry to observe  
            and measure crops while conserving resources and avoiding the  
            use of heavy equipment.  UAS also show great promise for use  
            in commercial delivery and communications.  








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  7








           6)FAA regulation of commercial UAS in development  .  In 2012,  
            Congress passed the Act which required the FAA to establish a  
            framework for safely integrating commercial UAS into the  
            national airspace no later than September 30, 2015, and  
            authorized the FAA to establish interim requirements for the  
            commercial operation of UAS.  Under the interim rules, UAS  
            operators must meet certain standards and apply for a  
            commercial use exemption and an FAA Certificate of  
            Authorization in order to operate in in "navigable airspace,"  
            which is generally above 500 feet.  
            On February 15, 2015, the FAA proposed a new framework of  
            regulations to allow the use of small UAS in the airspace from  
            the ground up to 500 feet.  If enacted, the proposed rules  
            would limit flights to non-recreational, daylight uses and  
            would require a commercial UAS pilot to maintain a visual line  
            of sight with the UAS.  Congress is currently considering FAA  
            reauthorization legislation that contains a number of UAS  
            provisions, including a proposed requirement that UAS  
            operators pass an online test, a requirement that UAS contain  
            certain safety features, and a new program to fund  
            interception of UAS that fly to close to airports. 





           7)The federal preemption issue.   Once the FAA has finished  
            promulgating regulations governing the commercial use of UAS,  
            a future court may find that those regulations preempt certain  
            state laws - such as this one, if passed - but much remains  
            uncertain.  

          For example, in Montalvo v. Spirit Airlines, the Ninth Circuit  
            held in 2007 that federal law preempts state law aviation  
            safety standards in areas in which the FAA has issued  
            "pervasive regulations."  In discussing the Montalvo case, the  








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  8





            Ninth Circuit found that the specific FAA regulations relevant  
            in the case were "pervasive" in that they were "specific,"  
            detail[ed]," "complete," "thorough" and "comprehensive" and  
            that this pervasiveness evidenced Congressional intent to  
            broadly preempt state law.  The Montalvo court held that  
            "federal law occupies the entire field of aviation safety.   
            Congress' intent to displace state law is implicit in the  
            pervasiveness of the federal regulations, the dominance of the  
            federal interest in this area, and the legislative goal of  
            establishing a single, uniform system of control over air  
            safety."  Montalvo v. Spirit Airlines, 508 F.3d 464, 473 (9th  
            Cir. 2007)



            Two years later, in Martin ex rel. Heckman v. Midwest Express  
            Holdings, Inc., the Ninth Circuit limited the scope of FAA  
            preemption and held that state law was only preempted if the  
            specific area covered by the plaintiff's tort claim was the  
            subject of pervasive federal regulations.  Martin ex rel.  
            Heckman v. Midwest Express Holdings, Inc. 555 F.3d 806, 811  
            (9th Cir. 2009)  


             


            The FAA itself recently took a more concrete position on the  
            issue of preemption of state UAS regulation.  According to a  
            December 17, 2015 FAA white paper entitled, "State and Local  
            Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)," the FAA stated  
            that "[l]aws traditionally related to state and local police  
            power - including land use, zoning, privacy, trespass, and law  
            enforcement operations - generally are not subject to federal  
            regulation." The FAA cited the following as examples:  



                     Requiring police to obtain a warrant before using  








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  9





                 UAS for surveillance;
                     Specifying that UAS may not be used for voyeurism;


                     Prohibiting the use of UAS to hunt or fish or  
                 interfere with someone hunting or fishing; and


                     Banning the weaponization of UAS. 





            This bill would appear to fall within the police power,  
            because it establishes safety and accident reporting standards  
            to help law enforcement resolve personal injury and property  
            damage accidents that occur when a UAS crashes with people or  
            property on the ground.  As such, the likelihood of federal  
            preemption of this bill would likely be minimal.   


           1)Recent amendments  .  The author recently amended the bill to  
            provide a specific exemption for fire agencies under the  
            bill's general exemption for law enforcement agencies. 


           2)Arguments in support  .  According to UAS maker DJI Technology,  
            "While injuries and property damage involving drones remain  
            quite rare, AB 1662 ensures that the operator of any drone  
            involved in such an incident can be held accountable.   
            Accountability is an important ingredient to safe and  
            responsible operation, and one that DJI fully supports.   
            Moreover, we applaud the author's approach of modeling  
            existing California law regarding similar incidents involving  
            ground-based vehicles, establishing consistent and predictable  
            policy for operators and local law enforcement alike."










                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  10








            The San Diego County International Airport (SDIA) Board voted  
            to support AB 1662 because the bill "could assist airports by  
            expediting our ability to obtain drone operator/ownership  
            information, and to determine whether or not there may be a  
            threat to SDIA operations, if a drone is involved in an  
            incident at the airport.  SDIA notes "several occurrences of  
            drone activity at, and in close proximity to, the airport" and  
            states "it is sometimes difficult to determine the origin of  
            drones and whether they were being operated by recreational  
            users or by individuals with criminal intentions."





           3)Related legislation  .  AB 1680 (Rodriguez) makes it a  
            misdemeanor to operate a UAS in a way that interferes with  
            first responders.  AB 1680 passed the Assembly Public Safety  
            Committee on a 7-0 vote and is pending the Assembly  
            Appropriations Committee. 

            AB 2320 (Calderon/Low) clarifies that using a UAS to enter the  
            airspace within which a person is prohibited from entering  
            under a given protective order is a violation of the  
            protective order.  The bill also prohibits a registered sex  
            offender from operating a UAS; prohibits operating a UAS in a  
            way that interferes with emergency response in an emergency;  
            prohibits using a UAS to stalk another person; and prohibits  
            using a UAS to deliver contraband into a prison.  AB 2320 is  
            pending before the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection  
            Committee.













                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  11





            AB 2724 (Gatto) requires UAS makers to include with the UAS a  
            copy of FAA safety regulations, and if the UAS is required to  
            be registered with the FAA, a notice of the registration  
            requirement. The bill also requires UAS with GPS technology to  
            be outfitted with a geo-fencing feature and requires UAS  
            owners to have adequate liability insurance.  AB 2724 is  
            pending before the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection  
            Committee.



            SB 810 (Gaines) increases fines for UAS interference with  
            firefighting activities.  SB 810 is pending before the Senate  
            Public Safety Committee.





            SB 868 (Jackson) proposes the State Remote Piloted Aircraft  
            Act containing numerous UAS regulations.  SB 868 is pending  
            before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee (and  
            thereafter the Senate Public Safety Committee).



           4)Prior legislation  .  AB 856 (Calderon), Chapter 521, Statutes  
            of 2015, expanded the scope of the cause of action in existing  
            law for physical invasion of privacy by making a person liable  
            for physical invasion of privacy when the person knowingly  
            enters "into the airspace" above the land of another person  
            without permission.



            AB 1256 (Bloom), Chapter 852, Statutes of 2014, created a  
            cause of action for the capture of a visual image or sound  
            recording of another person with the use of an enhanced visual  
            or audio device liable for "constructive" invasion of privacy,  








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  12





            and made it illegal, and subject to civil liability, to  
            attempt to obstruct, intimidate, or otherwise interfere with a  
            person who is attempting to enter or exit a school, medical  
            facility, or lodging, as defined.



            AB 2306 (Chau), Chapter 858, Statutes of 2014, expanded a  
            person's potential liability for constructive invasion of  
            privacy, by removing the limitation that the person use a  
            visual or auditory enhancing device, and instead made the  
            person liable when using any device to engage in the specified  
            unlawful activity.





            SB 15 (Padilla) of 2013 would have imposed a search warrant  
            requirement on law enforcement agency use of a UAS in certain  
            circumstances, would have applied existing civil and criminal  
            law to prohibited activities with devices or instrumentalities  
            affixed to, or contained within a UAS, and would have  
            prohibited equipping a UAS with a weapon, and would have  
            prohibited using a UAS to invade a person's privacy.  SB 15  
            failed passage in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

           5)Double-referral  .  This bill has been double-referred to the  
            Assembly Transportation Committee, where it will be heard if  
            it passes this Committee. 
          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Association of California Water Agencies








                                                                    AB 1662


                                                                    Page  13







          California Police Chiefs Association


          DJI Technology  


          San Diego County Regional Airport Authority




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Jennie Bretschneider / P. & C.P. / (916)  
          319-2200