BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       AB 1662|
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                                   THIRD READING 

          Bill No:  AB 1662
          Author:   Chau (D) 
          Amended:  8/19/16 in Senate
          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  

          Senate Floor Amendments of 8/19/16 (1) require someone operating  
          a drone during the course of their business, who has an  
          accident, to also provide the business name and address; (2)  
          create a wobblet, so a violation can be punishable by an  
          infraction or a misdemeanor instead of only a misdemeanor; (3)  
          remove the blanket exemption for law enforcement and unless  
          complying would interfere with the officer's or employee's  
          duties or would put individuals or property at risk of further  
          damage; (4) require drone sport leagues to comply with the bill  


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          if they cause injury, damage to property of a participant that  
          wasn't intended to be damaged, or damage to property of someone  
          not participating in the event; and (5) remove the exemption for  
          people with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  
          authorization to operate the drone.


          Existing law:

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

          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  


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            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  
            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  


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          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  
          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 -  


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          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:   (Verified8/22/16)

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

          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/22/16)

          Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
          California Broadcasters Association
          California Chamber of Commerce
          Electronic Frontier Foundation
          Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.
          Personal Insurance Federation of California
          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.  


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            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  

          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.

            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  


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            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  

          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. / 
          8/23/16 10:15:54


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