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RILA dishes on drone regs, pledge retail support


Drone sales are expected to set a new sale record this holiday season and create all sorts of new privacy, security and safety challenges in the process. No wonder regulations regarding the recreational use of drones are drawing support from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

RILA in response to an interim final rule issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Dec. 15, pledged its support of what appears to be a common sense requirement that drones weighing up to 55 pounds must be registered.

“With the holiday shopping season in full swing, consumers’ demand for innovative products like drones is high. Retailers fully support the FAA’s effort to enhance public safety and educate consumers on flight safety practices” said Kathleen McGuigan, RILA’s senior vice president of legal and regulatory affairs. "The FAA’s new on-line registration process is an efficient and effective way to accomplish these goals while ensuring the security and privacy of registrants’ personal information.”

According to the trade group, the rule requires owners of drones weighing from about half a pound up to 55 pounds that were purchased after December 21, to register their drone prior to its first outdoor flight. Current owners of drones would have until February 19, 2016 to register. Registrants must be at least 13 years old and registration will be good for three years, according to the proposed regulations. Registrants will be given a unique identification number to affix to drones prior to flight. The normal registration fee of $5 will be waived for the first 30 days, until January 20, 2016.

RILA submitted comments on the proposed rulemaking in November, questioning the FAA’s statutory authority to require point-of-sale registration and urging the FAA to consider the significant logistical, customer service, and privacy challenges of a point-of-sale registration proposal.

“We are appreciate that the FAA embraced some of the recommendations provided by RILA and moved forward with an on-line registration process,” McGuigan said. “In order to ensure that consumers are aware of the new registration requirements, it is critical that the FAA immediately begin a comprehensive consumer education campaign to publicize the new requirements. We look forward to continuing to work with the FAA to ensure that consumers are educated on FAA’s new registration requirements and air safety rules.”

The FAA rule can be read here.

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