Laser strikes reached an all-time high in 2021, according to the FAA, with 9,723 reports of such strikes from pilots last year, up 41 percent from 2020.
“The FAA continues to educate the public about the hazards of laser strikes because they pose such a serious threat to the safety of the pilot, the passengers and everyone in the vicinity of the aircraft,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement Friday.
Why This Matters
A total of 244 injuries have been reported since the FAA started recording data on laser strikes in 2010.
Not only is shining a laser at an aircraft a safety hazard, but it is also against the law. High powered lasers have the ability to incapacitate pilots.
People found shining lasers at aircraft will face fines of up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple incidents. In 2021 alone, the FAA issued $120,000 in fines related to laser strikes.
In addition to fines from the FAA, violators can also face criminal penalties from federal, state, and local law enforcement.
The FAA encourages the public to report laser strikes to the FAA or local law enforcement agencies.