Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ham Radio Restrictions for use in Car

Our friends in Arizona and California are encountering legislation impactinng amateur radio, according to Dick, K6VGP and Division Director Richard, N6AA.

Did you know your Section and Division has volunteers who monitor amateur radio legislation in the Oklahoma Legislature?  While the House and Senate have their hands full with a budget crisis, watching is still important.  It's also valuable to know who your State elected officials are.

Tell your legislative liaison thank you when you see them again.

From the Southwest Division ARRL Director 
Regarding use of Ham Radio on the Road

The following is from today's email from our ARRL Director:


Amateurs in California and in several Arizona communities are facing
recently enacted or impending bans on handheld electronic devices while
driving. Here's what we currently know about these laws.

In California, Assembly Bill 1785 took effect on January 1 of this
year. Now included in Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code, this law
provides that "a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding
and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless
communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic
wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured
to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in
that manner while driving . . . For the purposes of this section,
"electronic wireless communications device" includes, but is not
limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized
mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile
data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device." 

Whether intentionally or unintentionally vague, interpretations of this
language have ranged  from applying to all mobile communications (a
traffic court commissioner speaking to a radio club) to excluding
mobile radios (a CHP spokesperson in Orange County). One of our ARRL
Volunteer Counsel attorneys spoke with a staff member of the Assembly
Transportation Committee, which introduced the bill. The staffer told
him that the law was intended to apply to smartphones and similar
broadband devices, not to Amateur Radio or other radio communication
services. Another Volunteer Counsel attorney is attempting to get a
clarifying statement to that effect entered into the official record.

Meanwhile, CHP in Sacramento has provided guidance to the Los Angeles
County Sheriff's office that wired microphones permissible but
handheld radios are not. Until the law is amended or clarified, it
might be prudent for California Hams to avoid wielding a handheld while


In December, the Town of Oro Valley (in Pima County), Arizona adopted a
"hands-free" ordinance that states, "No person shall, except as
otherwise provided in this ordinance, use a mobile telephone or
portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle upon a
street or highway, unless that device is specifically designed or
configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and used in that
manner while operating a motor vehicle." The ordinance defines "hands
free" as the "use of a mobile telephone or portable electronic device
without the use of either hand by employing an internal feature of, or
an attachment to, the device." Like the new California law, this one
was ostensibly targeting smartphones and the like, but its lack of
clear definitions or specific exclusions has Amateurs concerned. The
town has provided for a warning-only period of a few months during
which mobile radio operators can make their case if stopped. (Source:
Oro Valley Web site)

A similar bill was passed earlier in 2016 in the City of San Luis (in
Yuma County) but has not led to any enforcement cases to date.

On January 10, the Tucson City Council approved in concept a law
similar to Oro Valley's, and the final language is expected any time
now. The stated purpose was to enable better enforcement of the
city's four-year- old ban on texting while driving, and it appears
that the implementation will be as a secondary offense, one for which
you can be cited only of you are already being stopped for another
offense such as speeding. (Source: Tucson News Now.)

Tucson Amateurs are contacting their council members to request
inclusion of appropriate exemption or exclusion language.

It is worth noting that an overly broad mobile-communications ordinance
enacted in Coconino County, Arizona in 2014 was amended after pressure
from both Amateurs and commercial trucking interests, according to
Section Manager Robert Spencer KE8DM.

In Dave Sumner's editorial devoted to this subject in February 2012
QST, he noted that "Safety must be our number one concern. Guiding a
motor vehicle is an awesome responsibility. Radio amateurs have been
operating mobile for decades without being perceived as a threat to
public safety, but if there is ever any doubt in your mind about your
ability to discharge that responsibility you should either pull off the
road (if it is safe to do so) or turn off the radio." I encourage you
to read the full editorial.

ARRL Southwestern Division
Director: Richard J Norton, N6AA

Cheers and 73,

Sent from my 
Retina Macbook Pro

K6VGP, System Mogul

1 comment:

  1. Please be sure you are aware of what the legislature in Oklahoma has planned for you.

    See for an Oklahoma version. #ARRL #hamradio


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