EDITORIAL: A call for common sense

We have a pretty simple suggestion when it comes to the dangers of using drones and cell phones

Advances in technology can put lawmakers in serious catch-up mode. Common sense, or a lack thereof, has been around for millennia.

Our Spotlight today on page A5 tells the story of a local yoga club that was shaken by the presence of a camera drone when members were doing their thing recently in Parksville’s Community Park. They want the city to develop bylaws again this alleged breach of safety and privacy protocols.

The city isn’t sure what to do about this. Mayor Marc Lefebvre acknowledges the potential dangers, but he also sees a use for drones to enhance the safety and security of city infrastructure and employees.

It’s easy for cities to point uphill at senior governments. The governance of the skies and aircraft is the mandate of the federal government’s Transport Canada.

Some cities, like Richmond, have developed bylaws regarding drones. We are willing to bet Richmond has more than one bylaw officer — what Parksville has — to enforce such regulations.

Transport Canada will presumably provide small municipalities who can’t develop meaningful legislation on this issue with some teeth when it comes out with new regulations on unmanned aircraft next year.

Another advance in technology — the proliferation of cell phones and their texting/surfing applications — has proven deadly in B.C., where one quarter of traffic fatalities can be attributed to distracted driving.

Ten years ago, distracted driving meant eating or turning around to help a child in the back seat.

Legislation is in place, and enforcement campaigns frequent, in regards to distracted driving in B.C.

Thing is, before drones, before cell phones, before electricity for crying out loud, there was that thing called common sense. And don’t even get us going about personal responsibility. If a drone operator employed some common sense, he/she would know it’s not OK to buzz a group of people doing yoga or peep/creep through an apartment window or get in the way of aircraft fighting a forest fire or get too close to a pod of orcas. Everyone who has a cell phone and an ounce of common sense knows it’s dangerous to text while driving.

Such is the state of our world that laws must be put in place because many (most?) humans have lost any tenuous grip they once had on common sense.

It seems the speed of technological advances in our society is only matched by the backwards slide in our ability to employ common sense.

— Editorial by John Harding

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