With the holiday season upon us, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reminding homeowners to aim their laser-light displays at their homes, and not into the sky.

The FAA says that every year, it receives reports from pilots who are distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays.

When holiday cheer can be dangerous

“You might not realize this, but a well-meaning attempt to spread holiday cheer has the potential to create a serious safety risk to pilots and their passengers flying overhead. So please make sure all laser lights are directed at your house and not into the sky. The extremely concentrated beams of laser lights reach much farther than you might realize.”

If the FAA becomes aware of laser-light displays that affects pilots, homeowners will be required to adjust them or turn them off.

“If your laser-light display continues to affect pilots, despite our warnings, you could face a civil penalty,” warns the FAA.

Thousands of laser strikes each year

Laser strikes against aircraft continue to increase each year. Last year the agency received 6,754 reports of laser strikes against aircraft, a 250 percent increase since it started tracking laser strikes in 2010.

Intentionally aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety risk and violates federal law. Many high-powered lasers can completely incapacitate pilots who are trying to fly safely to their destinations and may be carrying hundreds of passengers.

The FAA work with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against individuals who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft. We may impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. Civil penalties of up to $30,800 have been imposed by the agency against individuals for multiple laser incidents.