SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is one of the worst places in the U.S. for pilots dealing with dangerous laser strikes on airplanes, the Federal Aviation Administration reports.
Through the month of September, planes flying over Salt Lake City were targeted by lasers 203 times in 2021, a mark that ranks eighth in the country. The numbers released by the FAA Friday were for states, but all strikes in Utah where in Salt Lake City.
Overall, pilots reported 6,852 laser strikes to the FAA in 2020, up from the previous year despite fewer flights due to the pandemic. There were more than 130 strikes on planes in the U.S. over the weekend of Oct. 1-3 alone.
“Pointing a laser at an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot and not only affects the crew but endangers passengers and the communities they fly over every night,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
Those caught shining lasers at aircraft face fines up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple incidents. Violators can also face criminal penalties from different law enforcement agencies.
Top Ten States with Laser Strikes as of September 30, 2021:
- California - 1,167
- Texas - 605
- Florida - 434
- Tennessee - 377
- Indiana - 306
- Washington - 296
- Illinois - 263
- UTAH - 203
- Georgia - 202
- Colorado -187