Ministers have announced new powers to deal with people who shine laser pens at pilots and train, taxi and bus drivers.
Under new legislation shining lasers at any transport operator will become an offence and perpetrators could be fined thousands of pounds or jailed.
Buse drivers will be protected by the new law
Although it is already an offence to shine lasers at pilots and offenders could face fines of up to £2,500, the Department for Transport (DfT) said police do not have the powers to effectively tackle and investigate the inappropriate use of laser devices against aircraft, trains, buses and other forms of transport.
Officials said a current law means police have to prove a person endangered the aircraft when committing the offence of shining a laser, whereas the new law will mean the only have to prove the offence of shining the laser.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘Shining a laser pointer at pilots or drivers is incredibly dangerous and could have fatal consequences. Whilst we know laser pens can be fun and many users have good intentions, some are not aware of the risks of dazzling drivers or pilots putting public safety at risk.
‘That’s why we want to take the common sense approach to strengthen our laws to protect the public from those who are unaware of the dangers or even worse, intentionally want to cause harm. This kind of dangerous behaviour risks lives and must be stopped.’
Steve Landells of the British Airline Pilots Association backed the move. He said: ‘Any move to give the police and authorities more powers to tackle this real and growing threat to flight safety is a good thing, and we are pleased that the Government has included action on lasers in this bill.’
The DfT said there have been approximately 1,500 attacks per year on aircraft since 2011.