Site Launched To Report Reckless Drone Use

London West MP Kate Young learns about a drone from Fanshawe College student Nikola Zivkovic at the Norton Wolf School of Aviation Technology , December 21, 2016. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

Canadians now have a new tool to help snuff out reckless drone behaviour.

London West MP Kate Young announced Wednesday a new online tool that will allow people to report unsafe drone use to Transport Canada. The tool will make it easier for inspectors to crackdown on dangerous drone activity, such as flying in close proximity to an airport.

“Right now it’s difficult. You see a drone and think ‘well it’s flying over my house, it might be invading my privacy.’ Or it could be flying next to a highway close to cars and it could be distracting to drivers,” said Young. “Now you will be able to go online in real time, report an incident, and then Transport Canada will investigate.”

Every week Transport Canada receives numerous phone calls and emails regarding safety concerns involving drones.

In addition to the online reporting tool, the federal government also plans to unveil new drone operating regulations in the spring. The regulations will cover both commercial and recreational use of the unmanned air vehicles.

“Making sure that our skies are safe is paramount. People have to realize that, while drones can be fun, they can be very dangerous,” said Young. “We want to make sure that Canadians realize that they are not actually toys and shouldn’t be used as a toy. This is serious and we want to make sure people know the safety rules and regulations surrounding drones.”

The new regulations could include a minimum age limit, aircraft marking and registration requirements, and pilot permits for certain operations.

“Manufacturers are aware this is a concern and many are putting safety tips in with the packaging and that’s a start. Everywhere in the world people are grappling with this and every country is trying to decide the best way to move forward with rules and regulations,” said Young.

Wednesday’s announcement was made at Fanshawe College’s Norton Wolf School of Aviation Technology. Anthony Lopez is a second year student in the Avionics Maintenance program there. He feels the new safety rules and regulations are needed.

“There are still a lot of people who operate drones and they don’t know what they’re doing. They go into restricted airspace,” said Lopez. “It’s pretty much common sense. You can’t go too fast or operate in any other airspace because of the potential for plane crashes. Some people just don’t follow the rules, do whatever they feel like and it causes accidents.”

Last month, a Porter Airlines flight was forced to take evasive action after nearly colliding with an object thought to be a drone. Weeks later, a drone was spotted operating in a reckless manner near Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport.

More than 100 “No Drone Zone” signs have been installed in and around airports since the federal government launched a public awareness campaign on the issue in June.

Anyone caught operating a drone in a negligent manner, in controlled or restricted airspace, or endangering airplanes could be fined up to $25,000 or jail time.

To report a drone operating in an unsafe manner or to learn more about drone safety click here.