There is continually being more attention paid to incidents involving lasers being pointed at aircrafts. The concern is the greater number of incidents we see, the greater the potential that an airplane accident could occur as the result of these activities.
The incidents are of particular concern when aircrafts are at low altitudes. Search-and-rescue or law-enforcement missions are particularly prone to these types of events as recovery from a flash of light may prove more difficult. Many pilots on such missions are wearing night-vision goggles that can be particularly impacted by laser light.
There apparently is research taking place concerning development of lenses protecting a pilot's eyes from laser flashes. However, while such research is far from being complete, there may be other steps that airlines can take to prevent an airline accident in this manner from happening.
Unfortunately, neither civil nor criminal penalties have prevented more of these kinds of incidents from occurring. A trial program is underway to educate individuals about the dangers of this practice including programs in Phoenix. We don't know yet whether such a program will have any deterrent effect. There is also concern that use of these lasers could contribute to traffic accidents as well.
Regardless of how an aviation crash occurs, the results are likely to be of great consequence. As attorneys we represent victims of such crashes and try to hold the responsible parties accountable. We also have to figure out a way in which those victims can be adequately compensated. Every aviation accident is unique. Proving up how such an accident occurs is dependent upon the individual circumstances of each situation.
Source: AIN Online, "Stopping Aircraft Laser Incidents Requires More Than FBI Bounty," John Goglia, April 1, 2014
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