(p. A15) In the early days of the automobile, Vermont enacted a law requiring someone to walk one-eighth of a mile in front of every car and wave a red flag to warn pedestrians. Iowa directed all motorists to call ahead to warn each town on their route that they were coming. Some jurisdictions set speed limits so low that drivers who obeyed them risked having their engines stall.
Those laws seem humorously quaint, but if they had been widely adopted and enforced, the automobile revolution might have been shut down and its manifold benefits denied to millions. Today over-regulation could stifle the development of drones, which have the potential to revolutionize many parts of the economy and our everyday lives.
To cite a few examples: Amazon hopes to launch Prime Air, which would use drones to deliver packages in less than 30 minutes after an order is placed. Texas Equusearch, which organizes missing-person recovery efforts, can replace the labor of 100 volunteers with one drone. Clayco Inc., a construction firm, intends to use drones for aerial imaging of construction projects–replacing either helicopters, which burn fossil fuels and can be dangerous to those below, or construction workers, who risk serious injury through falls when they must climb to reach high, hard-to-reach places to take photos.
For the full commentary, see:
JOSEPH R. PALMORE and CHRISTOPHER J. CARR. “Overregulated Drones Struggle for Take-Off; The FAA has been slow and stuck in the past–precisely what the technology is not.” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., Feb. 23, 2015): A15.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Feb. 22, 2015,)