This week the Department of Transportation announced the formation of a task force to create a drone registration process with registration to begin as soon as the holiday season.
Setting aside my skepticism that any government body can design and implement a robust registration system in just two months, it occurs to me that this registration system might actually increase the number of drone related incidents.
Up to now the legality of drones has been a bit of a fuzzy area with almost no regulations in place that cover this new field. This means that while they are not illegal, they have not really been approved by any official body either.
Under this setup enthusiasts (such as myself) are understandably wary when other people are about. I have literally set up to fly at a wide open space only to pack everything up before getting off the ground because a jogger showed up.
There are also quite a few people that want to buy a drone but have held back convinced that the Government was about to ban them outright.
By providing drone registration the government, at a stroke, legitimizes drones. A situation similar to what six day-care centers discovered when they accidentally legitimized late pickups of kids by implementing fines.
Once my drones are registered I guarantee I won’t be packing things up when Mrs. Smith shows up to walk her dog. I’ll still be safe and courteous but I will no longer be invisible, happy in the knowledge that if challenged I can whip out my registration card and show that I’m legit.
Similarly people that have been waiting to see if drones will be banned will suddenly be given the green light just in time for Christmas. DJI and 3DR may well be rubbing their hands in glee at the moment.
More people flying + less inhibition = more incidents
One would hope that the anticipated increased education that comes with registration would help keep incidents to a minimum but that, of course, assumes the buyers actually read the instructions.
You know what they say about unintended consequences…they are still consequences!