The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its annual warning against aiming holiday laser-light displays toward the sky.
In a statement issued earlier this month, the FAA cautioned that home laser-light displays that typically are aimed at houses become “potentially dangerous when aimed into the sky.”
The FAA said that each year at this time, it receives reports from pilots who say they have been distracted or temporarily blinded by the holiday laser-light displays. “This creates a serious safety risk to pilots and their passengers flying overhead,” the FAA said.
“The extremely concentrated beams of laser lights reach much farther than might be realized,” the FAA added. “People with laser-light displays that affect pilots will be asked to adjust them or turn them off. A refusal to do so could lead to a civil penalty.”
The FAA said it is receiving an increasing number of reports of laser strikes against aircraft and noted that, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 23, some 5,486 laser incidents were reported, compared with 4,949 such reports during the same period last year.
In addition to being a safety risk, the intentional aiming of a laser at an aircraft is a violation of federal law, subject to civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. In the past, the FAA has imposed civil penalties of up to $30,800 against people responsible for multiple laser strikes against aircraft.