According to new legal papers filed by the FAA, they will soon begin to fine people up to $11,000 if they point laser devices at aircraft. This move by the Federal Aviation Administration comes after a sharp increase of such incidents have been reported in recent years.
In previous incidents, pilots have been temporarily blinded by the lights, which have even caused some planes to almost crash. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area
, there have already been 51 reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft. This area has the most reports in the country.
In several cases, people convicted of the offense have gotten jail time
, including a man in Southern California who was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for shining a laser at two airliners.
An FAA spokesman says that although they get reports of the lasers all the time, few offenders are ever caught.
According to Business Week
, the lasers are marketed as a tool for pointing out stars in the sky, which explain the need for them to be so powerful.