Drone sales boom as feds introduce regulations

Posted at 4:08 AM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 04:08:49-05

Starting next week, most new drones must be registered with the FAA.

The new rules come as drones have become the "must have" gadget of the holiday season. Hundreds of thousands of people will be getting drones under their trees this year.

Lantana's Shawn Holmgren, the owner of Palm Beach Drone, loves seeing drones take to the skies.

"It just brings out the engineer in me," he says.

Holmgren's company sells drones and teaches people how to use them.

"Technology has always caught the imagination of some people, and we've got a lot of pent up desire for this product," Holmgren says.

It seems almost everyone wants a drone this year.

The Consumer Technology Association has been forecasting major growth in 2015 for the drone industry.

The public can buy a drone for as little as less than $100 and the prices can go into the thousands.

While the drone business is booming this holiday season, there have been incidents that have become reminders that a drone is more than just a toy.

"It could kill someone," Holmgren says.

A drone nearly severely injured a toddler in November in England.  The boy's eye was sliced in half when a family member's drone hit a tree, spinning out of control.

"These moving propellers are very dangerous, like a blender if you will," Holmgren says.

There have been several cases when drones have come too close to the action.

Video of a drone flying into fireworks in West Palm Beach went viral in 2014.

The FAA investigated the person who posted the video to see if any laws were broken.  The FAA has tracked hundreds of cases of drones getting too close to airplanes.  WPTV found one in eight of those cases were in Florida.

"It's people who probably don't have the knowledge that they shouldn't be doing these things," Holmgren says. "But they don't care, they don't think they'll get caught."

There are some laws already in place for drones. The website Know Before You Fly is the official campaign to make sure people know the rules in place when it comes to flying drones. More laws could be introduced as drones fly off the shelves and into the sky.

The FAA has launched this website where people will be able to register their drones. 

Below is a map of where the FAA has investigated incidents involving drones in your area: