Laser pen attacks: Govt to consider new rules

Laser pen attacks: Govt to consider new rules


An increasing number of laser pen attacks on pilots and train drivers has led the government to look at new measures to tackle rogue use.

Among the moves that could be considered are licensing for retailers and shoppers, such as the systems that already exist in some other countries.

The news comes after a number of airline pilots have expressed fears about the use of lasers, which can cause eye damage and even temporary blindness.

There were 1,258 laser attacks reported on aircraft in the UK last year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

British Transport Police said there were 466 laser incidents recorded between 1 April 2011 and 31 October 2016.

Shining lasers at aircraft can incur a fine of up to £2,500.

But moves to make it easier for police to prove the offence were dropped by the Government after June’s election.

Business Minister Margot James has launched an eight-week call for evidence, saying: “Public safety is of the utmost importance and we must look carefully to make sure regulations are keeping up with the increased use of these devices.

“Whilst we know most users don’t intend any harm, many are not aware of the safety risks and serious health implications of shining laser pointers directly into people’s eyes.

“Used irresponsibly or maliciously, these products can and do wreak havoc and harm others, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

“That’s why we want to hear from business groups, retailers and consumers about the best way to protect the public from this kind of dangerous behaviour and improve safety.”

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, said: “Startling, dazzling and distracting a pilot at a critical stage of flight has the potential to cause a crash and loss of life.

“This is especially a problem for helicopters, which operate close to the ground and are sometimes single-pilot operations.

“There is also a growing concern that, as the power of available lasers increases, the possibility of permanent damage being caused to pilots’ and passengers’ eyes increases.”

(c) Sky News 2017: Laser pen attacks: Govt to consider new rules