The state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will ask lawmakers next session to consider legislation to “allow law enforcement to use drones for traffic crash management.”
But the law in question, the Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, includes an exception for “aerial mapping” as long as the drone is being operated safely.
The proposed bill is part of a “legislative concepts” package Executive Director Terry Rhodesplans to present at next Tuesday’s Florida Cabinet meeting.
The measure was mentioned during Wednesday’s Cabinet aides pre-meeting. The department reports to Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet: Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
The document explains that state law now prohibits law enforcement agencies from using drones “for surveillance and evidence gathering.”
Lawmakers in Florida and across the country have been passing laws related to drone aircraft in recent years. In Florida, the concerns have been mostly about invasions of privacy.
But the Florida Highway Patrol, which falls under the DHSMV, wants to use the remote-controlled flying machines “for complex traffic crash scenes where aerial photos and scene mapping can aid in clearing roads.”