Jump to content

State Laws - Operation Of Mobile Two-way Radios


marcspaz
 Share

Recommended Posts

Nothing in this thread is considered legal advice.  All information is strictly to use at your own risk.  If you have serious legal questions, I highly recommend consulting an attorney. 

 

This subject came up in another thread.  I didn't want to derail that thread and it did seem like an interesting topic to discuss.  So, I figured I would start a new discussion about it.

 

 

I live in Virginia, and there are a couple of laws that I found pretty interesting.

 

 

This law is about "personal communications devices".

 

§ 46.2-1078.1. (Repealed effective January 1, 2021) Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty.

 

It not only makes it illegal to send or read text messages, it makes it illegal to even hold a device capable of sending or receiving text/email messages in your hand.  There is no exemption for PRS or Amateur Radio operations.  However, most PRS and Ham radios cannot send or receive text messages.

 

This law had a 10 year sunset date.  It was not reconfirmed and will be automatically repealed in a few months, Jan 1, 2021.

 

The replacement law for the one above...

§ 46.2-818.2. (Effective January 1, 2021) Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty.

 

Section B4 says the provisions of this section shall not apply to "...The use of an amateur or a citizens band radio..."  Unfortunately, there is no reference to PRS or commercial radio.  I have an opinion that many law enforcement officers won't be able to tell what radio service you are using and likely wouldn't care due to the spirit of the law.

 

 

Below is another law that is supportive of the radio community and does a better job of defining devices as "handheld mobile telephones".  It also limits the law to apply only to commercial vehicles.  So, for folks who drive a commercial vehicle for a living are also exempt.

 

§ 46.2-341.20:5. Prohibition on texting and use of handheld mobile telephone; penalties.

 

This law states " 'Mobile telephone' does not include two-way or citizens band radio services."

 

 

 

 

So, are you aware of any laws in your state that revolve around distracted driving that either specifically include or specifically exclude the operation of two-way radios while operating a motor vehicle? Share below!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also wanted to add that the ARRL does have some minor resources about this subject, under their Regulatory and Advocacy section of their website.

 

http://www.arrl.org/local-regulations

 

 

 

And this is a really cool article to read about Montana legislation. Its a little dated, but relevant.

 

http://www.arrl.org/news/montana-governor-signs-legislation-to-protect-mobile-amateur-radio-operations-from-distracted-drivin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did some digging on the situation in CA.  Vehicle Code wise, it's not good news, with the kicker in bold:  23123.5

 

23123.5.  

(a) 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.

(B) This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.

© A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (B) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.

(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.

(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.

(f) For the purposes of this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, or a pager.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 297, Sec. 1. (AB 1222) Effective January 1, 2018.)

 

basically left wide open to apply to almost anything.  However, i did find some stuff about a memo issued to CHP clarifying the issue here:

 

 

The CHP command has also been contacted.  As a result, the CHP has issued a memo to its officers advising that “a radio installed and mounted in a vehicle with a wired hand microphone is not considered a wireless communications device……..and therefore is not subject to enforcement under this section.”  That memo was issued on March 28, 2017.

More recently, the sponsoring assemblyman entered into the Assembly Journal a letter establishing the legislative intent of the law. Essentially, the letter states that common 2-way, wired radio use was not intended to be addressed by the newer hands-free law.  This letter was published in the Assembly Journal on April 27, 2017.

Please note:  Use of an HT would still be a violation. The radio must be mounted and the microphone be corded to the radio.

Please remember that not all law enforcement officers will be aware of these documents, and may not follow them.  Amateurs may still be cited.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Please note:  Use of an HT would still be a violation. The radio must be mounted and the microphone be corded to the radio.

Please remember that not all law enforcement officers will be aware of these documents, and may not follow them.  Amateurs may still be cited."

 

So what is really the difference between holding a corded microphone or your HT with a pig-tail on it to the roof mounted antenna? These kind of laws are just pain silly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Please note: Use of an HT would still be a violation. The radio must be mounted and the microphone be corded to the radio.

Please remember that not all law enforcement officers will be aware of these documents, and may not follow them. Amateurs may still be cited."

 

So what is really the difference between holding a corded microphone or your HT with a pig-tail on it to the roof mounted antenna? These kind of laws are just pain silly.

It probably comes down to definition of a "device". You could probably get away with the HR in a holder with a corded mic though.

 

The problem is they aren't even thinking of 2 way radios when they write these laws, just aiming (rather wildly) at talking/texting/internet surfing/etc while driving, and making it as broad as possible to cover future devices.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the thread, Marc. I saw that post yesterday and wondered myself.

 

Seems like Nevada is more or less the same as California (no surprise). HTs would not be allowed in moving vehicles, mobiles are allowed if you're licensed and if the controls are not on the hand-mike.  All operations and devices are allowed if you're a licensed amateur radio operator acting in support of or training for emergency operations or other public services.

 

(NRS 484B.165)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the thread, Marc. I saw that post yesterday and wondered myself.

 

Seems like Nevada is more or less the same as California (no surprise). HTs would not be allowed in moving vehicles, mobiles are allowed if you're licensed and if the controls are not on the hand-mike.  All operations and devices are allowed if you're a licensed amateur radio operator acting in support of or training for emergency operations or other public services.

 

(NRS 484B.165)

I assure you the following is true.

 

I've had a few Hams say they do CW while driving. They have a Morse Code key strapped to their thigh. One hand on the steering wheel while the other is sending code. I can't imagine how this can be done without the driver's attention being split between the Morse Key and paying attention to the road. Some people can't even drive and chew gum at the same time.

 

I wonder just how this would be classified? There is no microphone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While search the web for applicable laws in the state of Ohio, I found this for the state of Connecticut which outright prohibits the prohibition of amateur radio handhelds while driving.

 

“AN ACT EXEMPTING AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS USING HAND-HELD RADIOS FROM THE PROHIBITION ON USING HAND-HELD MOBILE TELEPHONES AND MOBILE ELECTRONIC DEVICES WHILE DRIVING”

 

Here is the link to the government website.

 

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/SUM/2012SUM00067-R01SB-00061-SUM.htm

 

Michael

WRSH965

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^^ That's awesome!

Well not for everyone. The law specificity exempts Amateur Radio, those holding a valid FCC license. However what about others that hold a valid FCC license such as GMRS? I guess Hams have better lobbyists and a well organized group, ARRL, to represent their interests. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well not for everyone. The law specificity exempts Amateur Radio, those holding a valid FCC license. However what about others that hold a valid FCC license such as GMRS? I guess Hams have better lobbyists and a well organized group, ARRL, to represent their interests.

 

 

It's not perfect, but 100% a step in the right direction.

 

Like I said earlier... In a situation of a GMRS user, I doubt many law enforcement officers would waste their time to see if you have a license or what service you are using. It would defeat the spirit of the law. Of course, that is just my opinion.

 

Also, the law states that licensed hams are exempt. It does not say they are exempt only on ham bands/gear. So Hams can legally use their GMRS gear. It's really easy to get an amateur radio license. My wife was a Code Tech at 11, and I have talked to several kids that are 9 to 11 that have their Extra class license. If it is a desire, someone can simply get a GMRS and Amateur license and then it's not an issue.

 

Amateur radio does have better lobbying power... but Amateur Radio operators and the community at large has been, and continues to help the US, State and local governments since the late 1800's. They are a widely recognized part of the emergency response community in this country, and many others. So it make sense that State governments have exemptions that would normally only extend to law enforcement and emergency responders.

 

A great example of that is, in Virginia, Amateur radio operators can have and use emergency strobe lights in their vehicles. We have to use amber and/or white... but that exemption was made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always felt that we do not need laws for this. We need people to think about reasonable actions. Such as not using a radio while you are driving on an icy curvy road at night time. It seems like lawmakers feel that we need laws in place of reasonable thinking.

 

At least there are proper exemptions in place. For phone texting and driving, that is a significant threat to others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having been in law enforcement and the related for 45 years, I will state how I might operate my vehicle with certain transmitting devices.   I would not be overly concerned if at all about using a ham, gmrs or cb radio in my vehicle.  There may be a law in some states you can't have a transmitting device such as a microphone in your hand in some states but it is hardly enforced if at all and more importantly there is NO EVIDENCE that the person was operating (transmitting) on such a device even if involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

 

A cellular telephone is another matter.  Most states make it very clear in their law you can't talk or text on a cellular telephone in your hand up to or about your face.  It is allowed in most states I am aware, you can talk through your cellular phone if you speak in a remote mode hands free... say through the car stereo system. HOWEVER,  THERE IS A HARD COPY RECORD OF A PERSON SPEAKING OR TEXTING ON A CELLULAR TELEPHONE WHILE OPERATING A VEHICLE OBTAINABLE THROUGH THE CELL PHONE CARRIER.  If the person operating the vehicle is involved in a motor vehicle accident, possibly a serious motor vehicle accident and definitely involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident, the POLICE and the CIVIL ATTORNEY will obtain a COURT ORDER and show the operator's activity at the time and date of the accident and it WILL be used against the operator as "inattentive" to driving. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2015 Nevada Revised Statutes
Chapter 484B - Rules of the Road
NRS 484B.165 - Using handheld wireless communications device to type or enter text, send or read data, engage in nonvoice communication or engage in voice communications without use of hands-free device unlawful; exceptions; penalty.

Universal Citation: NV Rev Stat § 484B.165 (2015)

1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not, while operating a motor vehicle on a highway in this State:

(a) Manually type or enter text into a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless communications device, or send or read data using any such device to access or search the Internet or to engage in nonvoice communications with another person, including, without limitation, texting, electronic messaging and instant messaging.

(B) Use a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless communications device to engage in voice communications with another person, unless the device is used with an accessory which allows the person to communicate without using his or her hands, other than to activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device.

2. The provisions of this section do not apply to:

(a) A paid or volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician, paramedic, ambulance attendant or other person trained to provide emergency medical services who is acting within the course and scope of his or her employment.

(B) A law enforcement officer or any person designated by a sheriff or chief of police or the Director of the Department of Public Safety who is acting within the course and scope of his or her employment.

© A person who is reporting a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity or who is requesting assistance relating to a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity.

(d) A person who is responding to a situation requiring immediate action to protect the health, welfare or safety of the driver or another person and stopping the vehicle would be inadvisable, impractical or dangerous.

(e) A person who is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission as an amateur radio operator and who is providing a communication service in connection with an actual or impending disaster or emergency, participating in a drill, test, or other exercise in preparation for a disaster or emergency or otherwise communicating public information.

(f) An employee or contractor of a public utility who uses a handheld wireless communications device:

(1) That has been provided by the public utility; and

(2) While responding to a dispatch by the public utility to respond to an emergency, including, without limitation, a response to a power outage or an interruption in utility service.

3. The provisions of this section do not prohibit the use of a voice-operated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the vehicle.

4. A person who violates any provision of subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor and:

(a) For the first offense within the immediately preceding 7 years, shall pay a fine of $50.

(B) For the second offense within the immediately preceding 7 years, shall pay a fine of $100.

© For the third or subsequent offense within the immediately preceding 7 years, shall pay a fine of $250.

5. A person who violates any provision of subsection 1 may be subject to the additional penalty set forth in NRS 484B.130.

6. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not treat a first violation of this section in the manner statutorily required for a moving traffic violation.

7. For the purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed not to be operating a motor vehicle if the motor vehicle is driven autonomously through the use of artificial-intelligence software and the autonomous operation of the motor vehicle is authorized by law.

8. As used in this section:

(a) “Handheld wireless communications device” means a handheld device for the transfer of information without the use of electrical conductors or wires and includes, without limitation, a cellular telephone, a personal digital assistant, a pager and a text messaging device. The term does not include a device used for two-way radio communications if:

(1) The person using the device has a license to operate the device, if required; and

(2) All the controls for operating the device, other than the microphone and a control to speak into the microphone, are located on a unit which is used to transmit and receive communications and which is separate from the microphone and is not intended to be held.

(B) “Public utility” means a supplier of electricity or natural gas or a provider of telecommunications service for public use who is subject to regulation by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.

(Added to NRS by 2011, 3647; A 2013, 959)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The most common sense answer is, "Just don't while driving."

 

Just drive while you are behind the wheel. Pull over and park if you need to do other tasks.

 

It's just not worth it.

 

I just had my 2010 Ford F-150 and my utility trailer totaled by someone that thought using their cell phone and iPad behind the wheel were more important than driving. There isn't much left of the 2008 Lexus E350 he had just bought, either.

 

I am appalled at seeing 80,000 lb semis weaving out over fog lines and center lines, only to find the driver has a cell phone up against his head. They should know better.

 

Do you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about the truck and trailer. Glad you pulled through.

 

I got t-boned by a drunk who passed out behind the wheel. Hit me right in the driver's door at 55mph while I was stopped and waiting to turn. They had to cut me out of the car. My son had a broken arm and my daughter had a fractured vertebrate. I'm disabled for life with a chronic debilitating injury that is inoperable. Thankfully everyone lived.

 

Of course, the drunk guy was 100% fine. Only spent 35 days in jail for his 3rd DUI... second resulting in an accident with injuries. In the mean time, I'm suffering for life.

 

It never ceases to amaze me at how little thought people give to their actions. Seems like very few people even care that they could destroy lives... entire families... even their own. For what?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

here in Colorado its nasty to cell phone users like it should be, its super bad here.... but as radio operators we have this line here:

 

(7) THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT: 26 (a) OPERATION OF AN AMATEUR RADIO STATION BY A PERSON WHO HOLDS A VALID AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR LICENSE ISSUED BY THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION;

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are cb radios illegal? Hard to talk law without being political and I can get very political. Bottom line, don't use a radio if it infringes on another's freedom. All laws are created after the abuse of freedom occurs, cause an accident while being distracted using the radio and you are part of the reason government grows and we all lose freedoms we once enjoyed. Love your neighbor on the road and you have little to fear, do it not killing someone and there are many laws you are in violation of the least of which is radio usage. 

 

"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded"

 

Self government is great power, with great power comes great responsibility. You literally hold the lives of others in your hands, abuse it and you lose the gift of self government to another government, they lose everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are cb radios illegal? Hard to talk law without being political and I can get very political. Bottom line, don't use a radio if it infringes on another's freedom. All laws are created after the abuse of freedom occurs, cause an accident while being distracted using the radio and you are part of the reason government grows and we all lose freedoms we once enjoyed. Love your neighbor on the road and you have little to fear, do it not killing someone and there are many laws you are in violation of the least of which is radio usage.

 

"From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded"

 

Self government is great power, with great power comes great responsibility. You literally hold the lives of others in your hands, abuse it and you lose the gift of self government to another government, they lose everything.

if using

A radio while driving is going to distract you to the point of causing or not avoiding accidents then you have no business operating a vehicle to begin with because you just don't posses the mental faculties to safely do so. A radio is less distracting then having a conversation with a passenger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most valid argument for all of this is the police.  They are task with chasing down speeders, going far beyond the speed limit in many cases, and still communicate with other officers during a pursuit.

The normal reply is that they are specially trained.  But that argument only works if a NASCAR driver is allowed to drive 200MPH on public roads because not only is he trained, but it's actually his job.  Operation of a two-way radio does little to distract you from the primary task at hand (driving a vehicle).

 

That being said.  Don't talk on your handheld in a vehicle.  Install a dash mount radio and be done with it.  And if you live in a state that is SO gun ho on citing you for using a microphone connected to a two way radio, pack your trash and MOVE.  Because honestly, that has to be the least of your rights being violated by the government of the place you live. 

 

If talking on the radio created such a danger to other drivers then it would have been banned in the 70's when 90% of vehicles had CB radios in them and people were talking on them all the time.

Even the federal DOT allows for truck drivers, who by federal law can not touch a cell phone while driving allow for the operation of a CB or other two-way radio. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Laws regarding the use of radios is mostly silent. The key difference between cell phones and radios is a radio doesn't connect to the telephone network, conversations are short, no text messaging or video.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines.