The NTSB recently released a report about an unlicensed operator in New York who's drone collided with a Blackhawk helicopter (Report). The operator was flying recklessly, beyond visual line of sight, and during a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR), in an area he knew to have regular helicipter traffic.
Being a certified Remote Pilot is not just about taking a test. It is about understanding the possible reprecussions of operating recklessly. It is about realizing when to ground an operation that is too dangerous, even if a client is pushing you to get a shot.
Most operations are harmless. They take place in sparsely populated or trafficked areas, away from air traffic, and all obstacles have been accounted for before takeoff. A safe pilot knows that if they have the choice of putting someone in danger or crashing their vehicle, them must choose to dump the bird in the safest way possible.
So, when you are considering hiring someone for your aerial needs, check their credentials. Make sure that your potential pilot is licensed and insured. Taking this simple step can be the difference between disaster and great results. With this due diligence, you may see a higher price tag than the average Best Buy Pilot, but you are paying for the knowledge, safety, and results you will receive from a professional.