STATE OF NEW YORK
June 6, 2018
Introduced by Sen. VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules
AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to regulating
the use of unmanned aircraft in the state
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new
2 article 48-D to read as follows:
3 ARTICLE 48-D
4 UNMANNED AIRCRAFT
5 Section 2500. Legislative purpose.
6 2501. Definitions.
7 2502. Permitted use of unmanned aircraft.
8 2503. Restricted use of unmanned aircraft.
9 2504. State preemption.
10 § 2500. Legislative purpose. It is the purpose of this article to
11 encourage the safe operation of unmanned aircraft and to give users of
12 unmanned aircraft clear rules of operation that also give state and
13 local law enforcement the tools needed to protect public safety, privacy
14 and property. This section is intended to ensure consistency and avoid
15 conflict between local, state and federal law pertaining to unmanned
16 aircraft and their use.
17 § 2501. Definitions. 1. "Person" means an individual, partnership,
18 corporation, association, governmental entity, or other legal entity.
19 2. "Political subdivision" means a county, city, village, township, or
20 other department, agency, political subdivision, public corporation,
21 authority, or district in this state.
22 3. "Unmanned aircraft" means an aircraft operated without the possi-
23 bility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.
24 4. "Unmanned aircraft system" means an unmanned aircraft and associ-
25 ated elements, including communication links and components that control
26 the unmanned aircraft that are required for the pilot in command to
27 operate safely and efficiently.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
S. 8936 2
1 § 2502. Permitted use of unmanned aircraft. 1. The flight of unmanned
2 aircraft over the land and waters of this state is lawful.
3 2. A person may operate an unmanned aircraft system in this state for
4 commercial or recreational purposes if the unmanned aircraft system is
5 operated in a manner consistent with federal law and regulation.
6 § 2503. Restricted use of unmanned aircraft. 1. A person operating an
7 unmanned aircraft shall not interfere with manned aircraft and shall
8 always give right of way to manned aircraft.
9 2. A person operating an unmanned aircraft shall not intentionally
10 operate an unmanned aircraft in a manner that is imminently dangerous to
11 persons or property lawfully on the land or water beneath.
12 3. A person operating an unmanned aircraft shall not intentionally
13 operate an unmanned aircraft in a manner that constitutes a frequent,
14 repetitive, substantial and unreasonable nuisance.
15 4. A person operating an unmanned aircraft shall not operate an
16 unmanned aircraft in this state without first complying with all appli-
17 cable licensing, registration, and marking requirements required by the
18 Federal Aviation Administration.
19 5. A person operating an unmanned aircraft shall not operate in
20 violation of any flight restriction issued by the Federal Aviation
22 6. A person shall not knowingly and intentionally operate an unmanned
23 aircraft system in a manner that unreasonably obstructs with the offi-
24 cial duties of any of the following: (a) a police officer; (b) fire-
25 fighter; (c) paramedic; or (d) search and rescue personnel.
26 7. A person shall not knowingly and intentionally operate an unmanned
27 aircraft system to subject an individual to harassment. As used in this
28 subdivision, "harassment" means that term as defined in sections 240.25,
29 240.26, 240.30 or 240.31 of the penal law.
30 8. A person shall not knowingly and intentionally operate an unmanned
31 aircraft system within a distance that, if the person were to do so
32 personally rather than through remote operation of an unmanned aircraft,
33 would be a violation of a restraining order or other judicial order.
34 9. This section does not affect the ability to investigate or to
35 arrest, prosecute, or convict an individual for any other violation of a
36 law of this state.
37 § 2504. State preemption. 1. The authority to regulate the ownership
38 or operation of unmanned aircraft is vested solely in the state.
39 2. Except as expressly authorized by statute, a political subdivision
40 shall not enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that regulates the
41 ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft or otherwise engage in the
42 regulation of the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft.
43 3. Notwithstanding subdivisions one and two of this section, a subdi-
44 vision may promulgate rules, regulations, and ordinances for the use of
45 unmanned aircraft systems by the political subdivision within the bound-
46 aries of the political subdivision.
47 4. This article does not affect federal preemption of state law.
48 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.