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DOT To Drone Operators: Follow State Regulations

Drone in flight
Don McCullough
Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has issued a reminder to drone operators to fly them safely and follow state regulations as more of them take flight.  Officials says most recreational and commercial drones fly more often during the summer months. The agency itself is ramping up its use of drones with road crews and the Highway Patrol, according to DOT Drone Program Manager Basil Yap.

“We're beginning to use them to monitor construction sites, and we are also beginning to research how to use drones for accident scene reconstruction to improve the turnaround time and open our roads up quicker,” Yap said.

Pilots should stick to safety guidelines like flying below 400 feet, and staying at least five miles away from an airport. Yap said operators should use more caution as the skies become more crowded.

The Federal Aviation administration says more than 19,000 drones are registered in the state. That number is likely much higher as the government no longer requires them to be registered.  

“We can only imagine that those numbers have continued to grow,” Yap said.

A police helicopter in Charlotte recently reported a close call at high speeds with a drone that was flying over a minor league baseball game.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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