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Tackling the Problem of Laser Attacks

The UK Government has announced its intention to introduce legislation that will make it a criminal offence to shine a laser at any transport operator. This would mean that anyone shining a laser pen to distract pilots, train and bus drivers could face fines of thousands of pounds or a jail sentence.

Currently, it is an offence to shine lasers at pilots and offenders could face fines of up to £2,500. However police do not have the powers to effectively tackle and investigate the inappropriate use of laser devices against aircraft, trains, buses and other forms of transport.

The first laser attack on an aircraft was reported in 2004, with over 200 attacks reported per year by 2008. Since 2011, there have been approximately 1,500 attacks per year on aircraft.

The powers and penalties for the offence will apparently be outlined in upcoming legislation.

“Shining a laser pointer at pilots or drivers is incredibly dangerous and could have fatal consequences,” explained Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling. “Whilst we know laser pens can be fun and many users have good intentions, some are not aware of the risks of dazzling drivers or pilots, putting public safety at risk.”

“That’s why we want to take the common sense approach to strengthen our laws to protect the public from those who are unaware of the dangers or even worse, intentionally want to cause harm,” he added. “This kind of dangerous behaviour risks lives and must be stopped.”

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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