This Bill aims to make it an offence to shine or direct a laser beam towards a vehicle.
The creation of this new offence is intended to prevent the use of laser pens, pointers, and other laser beams, in a way which is likely to dazzle or distract a person when driving, or in control of any sort of vehicle.
The offence would apply in relation to aircraft, road vehicles, trains, trams, ships and other vessels, invalid carriages, and bicycles.
There have been increasing incidents of lasers being shone at commercial aircraft. Since 2010, there have been around 1,500 laser incidents reported each year in the UK, up from only 6 incidents in 2004. These incidents predominantly occur during critical phases of flight such as take-off and landing. There have also been reported incidents for other modes of transport such as shipping and rail.
It is already an offence to shine or direct a light at an aircraft which dazzles or distracts the pilot and the penalty for that offence is a fine of up to £2,500. However, the offence does not apply to other modes of transport. This new legislation would make it easier to prosecute people misusing laser beams and the new offence could carry an unlimited fine or imprisonment up to five years.
This Bill was introduced by Baroness Sugg from the Department for Transport.
This Bill is hard to argue against, as all transport authorities welcome the changes. The detail that will be discussed in Parliament will be level of fines, and the details about how this law would be policed.
How to get involved
You can contact your own MP or the Department for Transport.
If I don’t act, will it go through?
As a Government Bill, it is likely that this will go through.