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Number Of Laser Pointer Incidents Heads Toward All-Time High

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tough new laws to punish those who direct laser pointers at aircraft are failing to stop the dangerous practice.

In fact, as Mike Schuh reports, the number of incidents is headed toward an all-time high.

Laser pointers are small, cheap and strong. In fact, a laser atop TV Hill was seen more than a mile away. But when shone into a cockpit, it can blind the pilots, making them unable to see their instruments or the ground.

“There was a bright light on the right side of the cockpit. The pilot said to me he thought he was getting lasered,” said Maryland State Police medic Greg Lantz.

In fact, his chopper was targeted by a laser.

“The whole cockpit is lit up. Once it hits the cockpit, it convexes and it will shine across the whole cockpit,” Lantz said.

They landed and arrested a 36-year-old man but his charges were later thrown out by a local prosecutor. Had the man struck the chopper after May of this year, a new federal law could have led to criminal federal charges.

Though there are new laws, it may be surprising to learn that the number of aircrafts targeted by laser pointers is at a level near that of all of last year.

Last year, 2,836 aircraft were struck. Through October, there have been 2,733. This means we’re on track to have 800 more incidents this year because jetliners are on rigid pathways in and out of airports and can’t circle to see who shone the light at them. Very few have been caught aiming at jets but police choppers can and do hunt down the culprits. Most apprehensions and convictions have come from police.

“It’s a huge problem. To me, it’s dangerous. I can cause someone to die, crash the aircraft, whatever, so even though it’s fun, it’s a huge problem. Find something on the ground to laser,” Lantz said.

The federal fines if convicted of shining a laser pointer at an aircraft range from $11,000 to $250,000. On Thursday, there is a meeting in Washington to see what can be done about the problem.

More from Mike Schuh
Comments

One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    i think its awesome how a Heli can find where this was shined and get the person

  2. keepitbrief says:

    It’s amazing to me that in this day and age a multi-million dollar aircraft can be disrupted by a $10 laser pointer. Can’t somebody develop light filtering goggles or tinted glass? Really.

  3. Father Dowling says:

    Kids will be kids

  4. One excuse after another says:

    The police need all the help they can get,,,,, i would get a laser to point were the criminals are escaping .The police have all this equipment and poor excuses. The light is blinding me boss, i couldn’t get see

  5. NOTHING BETTER TO DO says:

    The tecnology on lasers is pretty wild. some are so powerful they can burn through certian materials. It’s not against the law it’s pretty amazing that they sell them on the web

  6. WHAT GIVES says:

    A LASER IN THE EYE IS BETTER THEN A SHARP STICK IN THE EYE

  7. IF THE TERRIORST FIND THIS TOP SECERET OUT WE ARE HISTORY says:

    LET ME GET THIS RIGHT WHEN THE SUSPECT FLEE’S HE DOESN’T NEED A GUN BUT A LASER….THIS WILL KEEP THAT BIG BIRD IN THE SKY FROM DOING IT’S JOB

  8. Nabiilah Husna says:

    If you intent to acquiring laser beam vision surgical treatment, it’s also wise to anticipate managing the laser beam attention surgical procedure conditions adhere to. These complaints change from individual to individual however often produce comparable signs or symptoms, regardless of variations in laser beam surgical treatment technique. This…laser pointer

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