Laser strikes against pilots increased in 2020 even with the overall decrease in air traffic operations. In 2020, pilots reported 6,852 laser strikes to the FAA. This is an increase from 6,136 laser strikes reported in 2019 and is the highest number reported to the agency since 2016.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) remains vigilant in raising awareness about misuse of lasers when they are pointed towards aircraft. Intentionally aiming lasers at an aircraft poses a safety threat to pilots and violates federal law. Many high-powered lasers can incapacitate pilots flying aircraft that may be carrying hundreds of passengers.
The FAA works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against people who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft. The agency takes enforcement action against people who violate Federal Aviation Regulations by shining lasers at aircraft and can impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. The FAA has imposed civil penalties up to $30,800 against people for multiple laser incidents.