(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) issued a multimedia package Wednesday on his legislation to combat the serious flight hazard caused by laser pointers being aimed at low-flying aircraft cockpits.
Laser incident reports have increased steadily since 2005, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a formal reporting system to record the incidents. The New Jersey State Police and the FBI recently re-emphasized the dangers and criminal nature of firing a laser pointer beam into an aircraft cockpit.
As reported by the Star-Ledger, there were 269 incidents of laser “strikes” in New Jersey last year, compared with just four incidents in 2007. Most of the incidents occurred at night and involved low-flying aircraft.
Albano’s legislation (A-3169) would prohibit the sale of consumer laser pointers that exceed one milliwatt in power output.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Albano discussing the dangers posed to pilots by laser pointers and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from Assemblyman Albano is appended below:
Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland):
“We are having an issue with military aircraft. We’re having an issue with Coast Guard helicopters, emergency helicopters, where individuals are using these lasers — even the small ones you put in your pocket — to shine on these aircrafts. And if it gets into the eyes of the pilot, even for just a second, it distracts the pilot; can impair his vision just long enough where we could have an incident. And we’ve been getting a lot of complaints from different organizations, different groups, different helicopter pilots, where it has become a serious issue.
“The solution is to regulate how far of a distance these lasers travel. We’re talking about aircraft that fly maybe 3,000 feet, 2,000 feet above the ground; to limit the distance on these lasers where, if somebody is pointing it at an aircraft, it would not impair the pilot’s vision.”