New law means up to five years’ jail for shining a laser at planes and cars

Tough new laws to hit people who target aircraft, cars and boats with lasers have been approved by parliament.  

The Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act will also create an offence of pointing a laser at air traffic controllers.

Tough new laws to hit people who target aircraft, cars and boats with lasers have been approved by parliament

Tough new laws to hit people who target aircraft, cars and boats with lasers have been approved by parliament

Under the new law, it is now a crime to shine or aim a laser beam that ‘dazzles or distracts, or is likely to dazzle or distract’ air traffic controllers, pilots, captains of boats and drivers of road vehicles.

Anyone found guilty of breaking the law will face up to five years in jail, unlimited fines, or both.

Cops have also been given additional powers to catch people who misuse any form of laser – including making it easier to prosecute by removing the need to prove ‘intention to endanger a vehicle’.

Are lasers a problem?

Lasers have become an increasing problem for all forms of transport, but a particular problem near airports.

In 2017, airports in the UK reported 989 laser incidents to the Civil Aviation Authority. The worst-hit airport was Heathrow with 107 incidents, followed by Gatwick (70), Manchester (63) and Birmingham (59).

Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg said: “We are taking action to provide greater protection against irresponsible laser use.

“Lasers can have very serious, potentially fatal consequences and offenders should face tough penalties for endangering the lives of others.”


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