High-Powered Lasers Continue to Land People in Jail

High-powered laser pointers continue to pose a great threat to airlines as they put the lives of hundreds of people at risk for no good reason. Even though the penalties for shining laser pointers at airplanes or helicopters have become more severe, reported incidents continue to grow every year (with 2,836 incidents this year alone).

Shining a laser pointer at an aircraft is extremely hazardous to pilots, as it temporarily impairs their vision. Because this activity is so dangerous, it makes sense that the penalties for it are as high as they are. For simply “interfering” with a crew member by shining a laser you can face fines up to $11,000, and if you do temporarily blind a crew member, the penalty is a much higher fine of $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison. Now think of that the next time you’re playing with a laser pointer.

As for the people that think it would be impossible to get traced to their laser, you can check out a video of a police helicopter instantly locking on to a person that shined a green laser at them, and getting the man arrested within minutes.

Personally, I think the reason for this high number of incidents is the fact that people aren’t aware of just how much danger they are putting the pilots into or the fact that they don’t think the laser can be traced back to them. In both cases, I hope this article will change reader’s opinions on this dangerous activity and will hopefully make them rethink their actions next time they get the chance to use one of these lasers.

(Via Travel USA Today) / (Image by JuanJaen licensed under Creative Commons)

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  • Harvey

    No, the reason for the interference is the ever-increasing presence of police helicopters. No one is shining lasers into the eyes of commercial or transit pilots, they are messing with cops flying helicopters with infrared cameras illegally and unconstitutionally searching our homes for the presence of marijuana growing operations. They are violating our rights and interfering with our privacy, but when a laser is shined in their eyes (and to be clear there were ZERO accidents as a result of laser interference last year) they panic and try to throw everybody in prison.

    The meaningless and unwinnable drug war has destroyed everything free and good about this country. Shame on you for perpetuating this nonsense.