EAGAN, Minn. – The first drone delivery of a package that was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration recently took place. But an overwhelming majority of Americans say they support restrictions on the use of drones as they become more commonplace, according to a new survey by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website.

The FindLaw.com survey says 78 percent of Americans support at least some restrictions on the use of drones by businesses.

In June, a drone successfully delivered medical supplies to a clinic in Virginia, but concerns about safety remain. Firefighters say a number of drones interfered with their fighting of a wildfire in California recently.  And aviation authorities in the UK report there have been at least six recent near-misses involving drones and commercial airliners.

The use of drones for business or commercial purposes, such as package delivery or news photography, is currently banned in the U.S. The FAA has proposed new regulations specifying how drones can be used in business. While more than three-quarters of people surveyed said they support some regulation of drone use, the FindLaw survey found that people have mixed views on which specific restrictions they would like to see:

Drone operators must pass a knowledge test and obtain certification from the FAA 54%
Drones must always remain with the operator’s visual line of sight 37%
Drones cannot be flown over people who are not directly involved with the flight 36%
Drone flights must be limited to 500 feet in altitude and 100 mph in speed 31%
Do not support any of these restrictions 22%


“Commercial drones are an emerging area of regulation, and the FAA is trying to balance the commercial use of drones with the need for safety for people on the ground and nearby air traffic,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “The FAA is seeking public comment on its proposed regulations, and people are encouraged to voice their views on what level of regulation they feel is appropriate.”

More information on the FAA’s proposed regulations can be found on FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog at http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2015/02/faa-proposes-rules-for-commercial-drones-seeks-public-comment.html.

The FindLaw survey was conducted using a survey of a demographically balanced sample of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent.

Note to editors: Full survey results and analysis are available upon request.

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