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US: UPDATED - 7,442 laser incidents in 2016; slight decrease compared to 2015

UPDATED May 5 2019: In April 2019, FAA released new data that lowered the totals for some years, especially 2015 and 2016. The story and chart below uses the older, original data originally released by FAA showing 7,703 laser illuminations reported in 2015 and 7,442 reported in 2016. Statistics elsewhere at LaserPointerSafety.com use the new data of 7,346 reported in 2015 and 7,398 reported in 2016. For more on the FAA change, see this story.

According to FAA data, there were 7,442 laser illuminations reported by pilots in 2016. This is a slight decrease of 3.5%, compared to 2015. However, both 2015 and 2016 had far more incidents than the previous four years, 2011-2014.

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Here is the same data, arranged to show the average number of incidents per day:

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Laser color(s)

As in previous years, green was by far the most-reported color:

FAA 2016 reported laser colors pie chart - 0600w

An October 2016 U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposal would allow the manufacture of laser pointers only in the 610-710 nanometer wavelength (orange-red to deep red). This chart shows the 2016 laser illuminations arranged according to those colors:

FAA 2016 reported laser colors pie chart nanometers - 0600w

Eye injuries or effects

There were 24 laser illumination incidents in 2016 where eye effects or injuries were listed. This is 0.32% of the total number of incidents. These are the effects listed; the total adds up to more than 24 due to multiple effects in some cases.

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From the FAA weekly Laser Report, January 9 2017 with data January 1 - December 31 2016