Current UAS State Law Landscape

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape

Rich Williams 12/29/2014

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, have a host of applications including law enforcement, land surveillance, wildlife tracking, search and rescue operations, disaster response, border patrol and photography. State legislatures across the country are debating if and how UAS technology should be regulated, taking into account the benefits of their use, privacy concerns and their potential economic impact. So far, 20 states have enacted laws addressing UAS issues. Common issues addressed in the legislation include defining what a UAS, UAV or drone is, how they can be used by law enforcement or other state agencies, how they can be used by the general public, regulations for their use in hunting game and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test sites.

States with UAS Laws

States with UAS legislation













Since the beginning of 2013 legislative sessions, state lawmakers have considered many pieces of legislation addressing UAS. To learn more about state UAS laws, bills and resolutions, please follow a link covering measures from a specific session below.

Federal UAS Regulation

On July 14, 2014 the FAA issued an Air Traffic Organization Policy, Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System (NAS), to consolidate all current regulations on UAS in the national airspace into one document.

On Nov. 7, 2013 the FAA released its first annual roadmap for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the nation’s airspace. In addition to the roadmap, the FAA also released Final Privacy Requirements for the UAS Test Site Program and a UAS Comprehensive Plan. More information about the FAA's work with UAS can be found here.

The 2012 Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act requires the FAA to integrate UAS into civilian airspace by 2015. To complete this task, the law also charges the FAA with establishing six test sites where operating standards for UAS can be researched and developed. On Dec. 30, 2013 the FAA announced their selected test sites, which will begin operating in the summer of 2013 and continue through February 2017.

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