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Laser strike risk remains high, FAA requests warning label with safety risks and federal laws

The FAA is urging laser manufacturers and distributors to add a warning label to not point lasers at aircraft. High-powered laser pointers can incapacitate pilots and put potentially hundreds of passengers and crew at risk. Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen has requested that laser manufacturers add a warning label to packaging so the consumer is aware of the risks and federal laws for using lasers.Check out the FAA video on the risks of laser pointing "Lasers may seem like just a toy, office tool, or game for most, but they can incapacitate pilots putting thousands of passengers at risk every year," Nolen said. "People need to be aware pointing a laser at an airplane is a federal crime." The number of laser strikes is increasing every year, causing injury and risking the lives of those affected in the sky.RELATED STORY:GAO report says the FAA needs to do more to address laser incidentsBetween 2020 and 2021, the number of laser incident reports rose by about 42 percent. This spike led the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study how federal efforts were addressing the problem. It is a federal crime to aim a laser at an aircraft and the FAA works with the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to investigate laser-related incidents. Since 2016, congress has required the FAA to report quarterly on laser incidents. In 222, 9,500 laser strikes were reported to the FAA by pilots. Since 2010, 278 pilots have reported an injury due to a laser strike. Currently, people who shine lasers at aircraft can face FAA fines of up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple laser incidents. In 2021, the FAA issued $120,000 in fines for laser strikes. The number of laser incidents went from 9,723 in 2021 to 9,457 in 2022, but the number is still 3,000 more than in 2020 and the safety risk is still a great concern for aviation.Nolen said in his letter that placing the information in the hands of the consumers can ensure everyone knows the risks and penalties of pointing lasers at aircraft. "Together, we can decrease this risk to aviation that remains too high," Nolen said in his letter.
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