BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1662


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          Date of Hearing:  April 18, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


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


          SUBJECT:  Unmanned aircraft systems:  accident reporting


          SUMMARY:  Requires the operator of any unmanned aircraft system  
          (UAS) involved in an accident resulting in injury to an  
          individual or damage to property to perform certain duties.   
          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires the operator of the UAS to immediately land the  
            aircraft at the nearest location that will not jeopardize the  
            safety of others.


          2)Requires the operator to present his or her valid  
            identification and his or her name and current residence  
            address to the injured individual.


          3)Requires the operator to locate and notify the owner or person  
            in charge of the damaged property of the name and address of  
            the operator and, upon being requested to do so, present his  
            or her valid identification and his or her name and current  
            residence address to the other property owner or person in  
            charge of the damaged property.









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          4)Requires the operator to leave a written notice in a  
            conspicuous place on the damaged property giving the name and  
            address of the operator and a statement of the circumstances  
            of the accident and notify the police department or the  
            sheriff's department of the jurisdiction where the damage  
            occurred.


          5)Makes a violation of these requirements a misdemeanor,  
            punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.


          6)Exempts from these requirements law enforcement and a UAS  
            operated under specific authorization from the Federal  
            Aviation Administration (FAA), in accordance with the terms  
            and conditions of that authorization.


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


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Vests FAA with the authority to regulate airspace use,  
            management and efficiency, air traffic control, safety,  
            navigational facilities, and aircraft noise.  


           2)Requires, under the federal FAA Modernization and Reform Act  
            of 2012, FAA to plan for the safe integration of UAS operation  
            into the national airspace system by September 30, 2015, and  
            to develop and implement certification requirements for the  
            operation of UASs in the national airspace system.  


          3)Requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident  








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            resulting in personal injury or death to stop the vehicle  
            immediately at the scene of the accident and provide to the  
            injured person and any law enforcement officer at the scene of  
            the accident the following: his or her name and address; the  
            name and address of any injured passenger; the registration  
            number of the vehicle; the name and address of the vehicle  
            owner if different from the driver; and present  
            identification, if requested.  Requires the driver to render  
            reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident.   
            Requires a person who violates these requirements and leaves  
            the scene of an accident causing injury to be punished by  
            imprisonment in jail or prison for up to 1 year, a fine of  
            $1,000 to $10,000, or both.  If the injury is permanent and  
            serious or fatal, the penalty is imprisonment in prison for 2  
            to 4 years, in jail for between 90 days and 1 year, a fine of  
            $1,000 to $10,000, or both imprisonment and the fine.


          4)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 safety and do the following: locate and  
            notify the owner of the property; provide his or her name and  
            address; and present identification, if requested.  If the  
            property owner cannot be found, then the driver must 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 notify the police.  A violation of these requirements is a  
            misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a $1,000  
            fine, or both.


          5)Requires a person who parks and leaves a vehicle which then  
            becomes a runaway vehicle involved in an accident causing  
            property damage to follow the same provisions that apply to  
            other vehicle accidents causing property damage.


          6)Requires the driver of any vehicle except a common carrier  








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            vehicle involved in an accident resulting in personal injury  
            or death to report the accident to the police within 24 hours.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  Existing federal law vests FAA with the authority to  
          regulate airspace in all states.  In 2012, FAA was required by  
          Congress to plan for the safe integration of UAS operation into  
          the national airspace system by September 30, 2015, and to  
          develop and implement certification requirements for the  
          operation of UASs in the national airspace system.


          A UAS includes both an unmanned aircraft, commonly referred to  
          as a drone, and all of the associated support equipment, control  
          stations, data links, telemetry, and communications and  
          navigation equipment necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft.  
           A UAS can be flown either by a pilot via a ground control  
          system or autonomously through use of an on-board computer.  


          AB 1662 would require the operator of a UAS involved in an  
          accident to land the vehicle and provide specified information  
          to other parties involved in the accident, consistent with the  
          current requirements placed on a driver involved in a motor  
          vehicle accident.  The requirements and penalties associated  
          with this bill mirror existing statutes relating to hit-and-run  
          accidents, such as the requirement to leave a note with  
          identifying information if the accident results only in property  
          damage.


          According to the author, there is a need for clear rules to  
          protect public safety as more drones enter the skies, as UASs  
          have the potential to cause personal injury and property damage  
          if systems fail or operators use them irresponsibly.  The author  
          states that drones are just as capable as cars are of causing  








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          personal injury and property damage when they fall out of the  
          sky or hover too close to people.


          Unmanned aircraft systems are widely available to the public,  
          and retail systems outfitted with cameras now range from roughly  
          $300 to $1,500.  The FAA estimates that nearly one million UASs  
          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 one  
          half pound and 55 pounds, including payloads such as on-board  
          cameras, to be registered with the FAA by February 19, 2016.   
          UAS owners must be at least 13 years old to register and must  
          provide their name, home address, and email address.  Upon  
          registration under this requirement, 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 unmanned aircraft.  This unique identifier can  
          then be used to look up the UAS owner in the event of an  
          accident.  These registration rules apply only to "model  
          aircraft," i.e., recreational UASs not used for any commercial  
          purpose.  The FAA is currently in the process of adopting rules  
          regulating the use of commercial UASs, which currently may only  
          be authorized by the FAA on a case-by-case.  According to FAA  
          Administrator Michael Huerta, the FAA now has more than 400,000  
          UAS registrants in the model aircraft category, which surpasses  
          the 320,000 piloted airplanes currently registered with the FAA.


          While there is little existing law at the state level governing  
          the use of UAS, it is unclear what effect upcoming FAA  
          regulations will have on California's ability to regulate  
          drones.  Once the FAA has finished promulgating regulations, a  
          future court may find that those regulations preempt certain  
          state laws.  The FAA recently issued a document on state and  
          local regulation of UASs, and stated that laws traditionally  
          related to state and local police power - including land use,  








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          zoning, privacy, trespass, and law enforcement operations -  
          generally are not subject to federal regulation.  


          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 involving drones.  As such, the likelihood of federal  
          preemption of this bill could be minimal.


          Double referral:  This bill passed out of the Assembly Privacy  
          and Consumer Protection Committee on April 5, 2016, with an 11-0  
          vote.


          Related legislation:  AB 1680 (Rodriguez), makes it a  
          misdemeanor to operate a UAS in a way that interferes with first  
          responders.  AB 1680 is currently on Assembly Third Reading.


          AB 1724 (Waldron), establishes identification marking  
          requirements for certain unmanned aircraft operated in  
          California.  AB 1724 is awaiting a hearing in the Assembly  
          Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.


          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.  AB 2724 also requires a UAS with GPS technology to  
          be outfitted with a geo-fencing feature and requires UAS owners  
          to have adequate liability insurance.  AB 2724 is awaiting a  
          hearing in the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection  
          Committee.


          SB 810 (Gaines), increases fines for UAS interference with  
          firefighting activities.  SB 810 is awaiting a hearing in the  








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          Senate Public Safety Committee.


          SB 868 (Jackson), establishes the State Remote Piloted Aircraft  
          Act containing numerous UAS regulations.  SB 868 is scheduled to  
          be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on April 19,  
          2016.


          Previous legislation:  AB 14 (Waldron, 2015), would have  
          established identification marking requirements for certain  
          unmanned aircraft operated in California.  AB 14 was returned to  
          the Chief Clerk by this committee pursuant to Joint Rule 56.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Association of California Water Agencies


          California Police Chiefs Association


          DJI Technology


          San Diego County Regional Airport Authority




          Opposition









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          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Justin Behrens / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093