Comparing Public Concern and Support for Drone Regulation to the Current Legal Framework

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In this study we assess the extent to which the regulations governing the use of drones in the United States address the concerns held by the public they are meant to protect. In general, respondents were most supportive of those regulations that could be categorized as limiting one's exposure to an unwanted drone. The most popular policies were those that protected personal privacy, while the least popular were those that hampered drones used for public safety. The largest discrepancy was found to be respondents' preference for laws protecting personal privacy compared with the lack of regulatory constraints currently in place. Federal regulators have only begun to introduce regulations on how drones can be used in our national airspace, with additional regulations for other types and sizes of drones likely to be introduced in the future. The results of this study may be utilized by regulators and lawmakers to create a regulatory structure that effectively mitigates risk and supports the public interest.


Originally published in 2018 by Behavioral Science & the Law.