December 16, 2013

The FAA, Electronic Devices on Airplanes and Endless Regulations

Patrick McLaughlin

Director of Policy Analytics
Summary

Christmas came early for those who fly often. As you've probably heard and maybe already benefited from, the Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to allow expanded use of portable electronic devices by airplane passengers. I applaud the modification of this poorly constructed regulation. Unfortunately, while there are plenty of other regulations that need to be modified or eliminated, this type of reform – regulatory reform that entails admitting that an existing rule has some problems – is rarely the gift that keeps on giving....

Christmas came early for those who fly often. As you've probably heard and maybe already benefited from, the Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to allow expanded use of portable electronic devices by airplane passengers. I applaud the modification of this poorly constructed regulation. Unfortunately, while there are plenty of other regulations that need to be modified or eliminated, this type of reform – regulatory reform that entails admitting that an existing rule has some problems – is rarely the gift that keeps on giving....

Don't put all the blame on the agencies, though. Our antiquated regulatory system gives little incentive to agencies to eliminate or modify rules. Instead, the simplest way for agencies to appear to accomplish their missions is to create new regulations, regardless of whether they are likely to be effective. So regulations accumulate consistently, and that is not without consequence.

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