FAA to fine people who point lasers at planes

June 1, 2011 - 10:12 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal aviation officials say they will start imposing fines against people who point powerful lasers at planes and helicopters, which can temporarily blind pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that pilots have reported over 1,100 such incidents in the U.S. so far this year.

Agency officials released a new legal interpretation they said will allow them to fine people who point the lasers as much as $11,000 per incident.

The incidents have increased rapidly around the world over the past six years as online sales of new, powerful handheld lasers have soared. The lasers are marketed as a tool to point out stars at night.