Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Announces Proposal Covering Drone Operations

The U.S. Department of Transportation is ready to issue a new proposed rule that will allow more freedom for people operating drones, according to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Chao, who delivered remarks Jan. 14 at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting, announced that the forthcoming proposed rule would allow drone operators to fly their machines at night and over the heads of people without special waivers if certain conditions are met. Such conditions include that the operator has received appropriate training, completed approved testing and has equipped the drone with anti-collision lighting.

Drone operators must adhere to some basic rules outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration when flying unmanned aerial vehicles. Current rules stipulate that they are not allowed to fly the craft above 400 feet, they cannot fly above moving traffic unless they have a special permit and they can only operate during daylight hours.

Chao said the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register soon.