SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa, is sponsoring legislation that will prohibit unmanned drone pilots from interfering with local police, firefighter, paramedics and other first responders performing their duties.
“We have seen increased activity from civilians using state-of-the-art drones to interfere with first responders when they are carrying out their duties, like in police chases or rescue missions,” said Yednock. “I want to send a clear signal that it is unacceptable for anyone to interfere with the job of a first responder when they are protecting our safety or on the scene of an emergency.”
Yednock’s House Bill 3452 aims to prevent interference with first responders from members of the general public using drones, which have been notoriously subject to criticism from fire departments across the country. According to the U.S Forest Service, at least 11 firefighting efforts were interrupted last year as the result of drone interference. Sadly, as witnessed by the recent wildfires on the west coast, unmanned drones can delay and postpone public safety missions, even if the purpose of flying a drone isn’t malicious in nature. Drones could shatter the glass of an aerial firefighting plane without even realizing it, rendering a rescue mission abandoned.
“Drones are best used when they’re helping our first responders accomplish their search and rescue missions, not when these devices are used to purposely obstruct a life-saving rescue attempt or police pursuit, like we have seen,” said Yednock. “First responders deserve to be able to do their jobs in keeping us all safe without interference by anyone or anything and making an already difficult job much harder.”