Stephen Ellison

Game of Drones: After Complaints, Sausalito Places New Restrictions on the Devices

The city of Sausalito is cracking down on drones, limiting how and when drone operators can fly within the city limits.

The move comes after several complaints of drones following people and even entering private homes. But restrictions on drone operators don’t always work, as evidenced by an outright drone ban at the nearby Golden Gate Bridge that hasn't been the least bit effective.

The Golden Gate Bridge Authority says there have been a dozen incidents since the ban went into effect about 18 months ago.

"We’ve found drones crashed into the roadway, on the towers, even in the struts underneath the bridge itself," spokeswoman Priya David Clemens said.

Sausalito leaders are responding to complaints about the invasiveness of drones. The City Council voted unanimously to restrict drones from following people, flying within 25 feet of houses or violating someone's privacy.

"We had one that actually went into a house through an open door and down the hallway," Vice Mayor Joe Burns said.

Professional photographer Ian Montgomery flies drones for a living and says it’s not something he can follow.

"It’s impossible because in a day, I might be flying in five or six different areas," he said, adding that state and federal laws already govern drone operation.

The Golden Gate Bridge Authority says it's looking for even tougher drone laws and enforcement.

"What we need is stronger legislation, and we’re urging Congress to pass stronger legislation on amateur hobbyist drone operators," Clemens said.

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