Transport Canada urges Canadians to stop aiming laser pointers at planes
Published Tuesday, May 24, 2016 6:37PM EDT
The federal government has launched a social media campaign urging Canadians to stop aiming their laser pointers at planes.
“For some reason, which is beyond me, some people seem to want to point these things at aircraft,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau told CTV’s Power Play from Buttonville Municipal Airport near Toronto on Tuesday.
“This is not only reckless, it’s not only a stupid act – it’s also criminal.”
According to Transport Canada, laser strikes can distract pilots, cause glare that affects their vision or even temporarily blind them. Impinging on a pilots’ ability to fly safely, such strikes puts passengers, crew and ground workers at unnecessary risk, especially during landing. If caught aiming a laser pointer at a plane, you can face a fine of up to $100,000 and five years in prison.
“We think that in some cases, people are doing it because they think it’s fun,” Garneau, a former pilot and astronaut, said. “I don’t think people realize that they could end up in jail for as much as five years.”
Nearly 600 laser strikes were reported to Transport Canada in 2015, an increase from 502 incidents in 2014. There have been at least 148 laser strikes so far this year. Transport Canada advises reporting any such incidents to police.
Transport Canada’s social media campaign, dubbed “Not a Bright Idea,” revolves around several videos and the #NotABrightIdea hashtag. One video even features a folksy jingle and a cutesy laser-loving blob.