BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       AB 1662|
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                                   THIRD READING 

          Bill No:  AB 1662
          Author:   Chau (D) 
          Amended:  3/3/16 in Assembly
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE:  6-1, 6/21/16
           AYES:  Hancock, Glazer, Leno, Liu, Monning, Stone
           NOES:  Anderson


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  67-2, 5/19/16 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Unmanned aircraft systems:  accident reporting

          SOURCE:    Author
          DIGEST:   This bill 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  


          Existing law:

          1)Requires, in federal regulations, all drone owners to register  
            their drones with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).   
            Commercial drone operators, but not recreational drone  
            operators, must also obtain FAA authorization, which is  
            granted on a case-by-case basis.  


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          2)Establishes a Division of Aeronautics within the California  
            Department of Transportation (Caltrans).  (Public Utilities  
            Code §§ 21001 et seq)

          3)Requires, in federal law, under the Aviation Administration  
            Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the Secretary of  
            Transportation to develop a comprehensive plan to safely  
            accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems  
            into the national airspace system. The plan is required to  
            provide for safe integration of civil UAS into national  
            airspace as soon as practicable, not later than September 30,  
            2015. (112 P.L. 95, 332.) 

          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 six months in jail, a $1,000  
            fine, or both.  (Vehicle Code § 20002)

          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. (Vehicle Code  
            § 20002(b))

          This bill:

          1)Requires the operator of the UAS involved in an accident  
            resulting in injury to an individual or damage to property 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  


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            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.

          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  

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

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

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


          This bill requires 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.

          UASs 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  


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

          This bill appears 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.  

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes

          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/2/16)

          Association of California Water Agencies


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          California Fire Chiefs Association
          California Police Chiefs Association
          Fire Districts Association of California
          San Diego International Airport 

          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/2/16)

          Electronic Frontier Foundation

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:     DJI, a manufacturer of consumer and  
          commercial unmanned aircraft, supports this bill stating:

               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 law regarding similar  
               incidents involving ground-based vehicles, establishing  
               consistent and predictable policy for operators and  
               local law enforcement alike.

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:     The Electronic Frontier Foundation  
          opposes this bill stating:

               To begin with, we agree that in most cases having a  
               reporting requirement for accidents involving UAS  
               (commonly known as drones) is in the public interest.  
               However, there are scenarios where such a reporting  
               requirement does not make sense. For example, many  
               Californians participate in recreational drone combat  
               competitions (sometimes referred to as "Game of  
               Drones").  (See, e.g.,   
               In these competitions, the goal is to damage the other  
               person's drone so that it can no longer fly, while  
               ensuring that your own drone stays in the air. These  
               competitions typically take place in controlled indoor  
               or outdoor environments, between individuals who are  
               well aware of the risk of damage to their property  
               (specifically their drones) and for whom doing quick  
               repairs to fix damage is actually part of the fun of  
               the competition.


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               Therefore, we suggest that AB 1662 be amended so that  
               damage done to property during recreational drone  
               activities does not trigger its reporting requirement.  
               To be clear, such a carve-out should only apply if the  
               damage is done to property-not persons-and only when  
               the damaged property belongs to someone affiliated with  
               or taking part in the recreational activity (i.e. not  
               the property of mere spectators or passersby).

               The second flaw in the bill is section 24455(c)(1),  
               which excludes law enforcement officers and first  
               responders from the bill's reporting requirements (i.e.  
               section 24455(a)(1)-(3)). While we understand that in  
               some situations, it may be necessary for this class of  
               public servants to continue operating their drone  
               without interruption, even after causing damage to  
               people or property, we feel that a total exclusion is  
               unwarranted and unnecessary. 

               Therefore, we suggest that AB 1662 be amended so that  
               the same reporting requirements apply to law  
               enforcement and first responders as all others, except  
               that they may delay complying with the reporting  
               requirements if doing so immediately would directly  
               lead to additional damage to property or injury to  
               people. In other words, a law enforcement officer could  
               continue flying his drone if he were using it to track  
               an armed suspect, and wait to find the injured party  
               until after the suspect was apprehended. Such a carve  
               out should not hinder law enforcement or first  
               responders in any way, while still preserving their  
               duty to find and exchange information with people  
               injured by their UAS operations.

               Finally, the exception for people operating UAS  
               pursuant to specific FAA authorizations should also be  
               removed, as having an authorization from the FAA does  
               not change the fact that the onus to report the  
               accident and provide identifying information should be  
               on the UAS operator, not the person who suffered injury  
               or whose property was damaged.


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          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  67-2, 5/19/16
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Arambula, Atkins, Baker, Bloom,  
            Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chau,  
            Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle, Daly, Dodd,  
            Eggman, Frazier, Gallagher, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia,  
            Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gray, Grove, Roger  
            Hernández, Holden, Irwin, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey,  
            Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low, Maienschein, Medina, Mullin,  
            Nazarian, O'Donnell, Olsen, Patterson, Quirk, Ridley-Thomas,  
            Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond,  
            Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wilk, Wood, Rendon
          NOES:  Travis Allen, Harper
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Bigelow, Chang, Chávez, Beth Gaines, Hadley,  
            Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Melendez, Obernolte, Williams

          Prepared by:Mary Kennedy / PUB. S. / 
          8/3/16 18:49:54

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