Personal delivery devices, or PDDs, have begun rolling along some cities’ streets, transporting carry-out from local restaurants and delivering parcels. Unlike flying drones that fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration, there is no basis for federal jurisdiction over these devices, sometimes referred to as “ground drones.”
Four states, Virginia, Idaho, Wisconsin and Florida have recently passed laws regulating PDDs. The city of San Francisco is considering banning them outright, citing safety considerations given the city’s many narrow and steep sidewalks.
The current state laws include restrictions on weight of the device (typically limited to 50 or 80 pounds without cargo), requiring unique identification numbers, a braking system, speed limits, insurance requirements and prohibiting the transport of hazardous materials. Penalties for violating these laws may include both civil infraction and criminal misdemeanor.
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