Yet another man from Central California has been sentenced to jail time for firing a laser at a California Highway Patrol (CHP) aircraft. On Monday, Andrew Zarate, of Fresno, was given one year in prison for firing a green laser at Air 43, a CHP plane.
It may seem like a silly thing, but laser strikes against planes, helicopters, and other aerial vehicles have become an increasing epidemic nationwide. Since the FBI began keeping track in 2005, there have been more than 17,000 laser strikes—one-fifth (3,960) in 2013 alone. During the first three months of 2014, the FBI reported an average of 9.5 incidents daily.
While no serious injuries or deaths have occurred, pilots say that being struck by a laser can be a terrifying experience that may cause temporary blindness.
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