New Hampshire makes it legal to drive flying cars on public roads

Live free and fly

New Hampshire's fierce embrace of personal freedom confers drivers there a latitude found nowhere else in the nation. The Granite State is the only one that doesn't legally mandate wearing a seat belt. Earlier this year, state legislators worked to repeal the 85-year-old law declaring, "No person, while hunting or obviously on his way to or from hunting, shall have a ferret in his possession, custody or control," which we're pretty sure is another issue only faced in New Hampshire. Looking to the future, Governor Chris Sununu signed House Bill 1182 into law. Covered by Forbes, the "Jetson Bill," HB 1182 legalizes driving a flying car on public roads. Specifically, the law creates a way for the owner of a "roadable aircraft" to register with the Division of Motor Vehicles and pay a fee to get license plates, but using the car as a plane can still only happen at an airport.

Ex-State Rep. Keith Ammon is now the New Hampshire distributor for PAL-V flying cars (pictured). He worked with current State Rep. Steven Smith on the law — or as Smith put it, Ammon "brought me a list of stuff we needed to address." Smith also heads his state's autonomous vehicle review commission, and said, "I look for ways to boost our image as a state that embraces technology change. Maybe people will come here first."

Since flying cars — whenever they take off —  will need to be certified by the FAA as airworthy and flown by pilots, legislators worked to fill in the gaps between FAA and state motor vehicle regulations. FAA-certified mechanics conduct annual inspections, and the agency already requires seat belts, enforces rollover standards, and mandates a forward crumple zone. Pilots get annual physicals to keep their flying licenses current. The Jetson Bill adopts the plane ID number issued by the New Hampshire's aeronautics agency as the vehicle's VIN, plus each vehicle will have an FAA "N" number for national use and a New Hampshire license plate so local police can find out whose flying car they're pulling over. The bill also establishes a committee to look more closely at the issue.

Of note, again, only trained pilots can fly the things, and takeoffs and landings will only be allowed at airports. We're not sure how many pilots would benefit from not needing to catch a ride at their destination airport, but since the FAA hasn't approved any flying cars yet, and there are none requesting approval yet, we have some time to answer those questions. Meanwhile, HB 1182 ushered in some more practical legislation related to tolls, impaired driving, and license revocation.

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