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Distracted Driving in Ontario

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Distracted Driving in Ontario

    On April 16 the MTO posted a regulatory notice proposing a change to Ontario Regulation # 366/09 (Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices) that would extend the current exemption for licenced amateur radio operators for an additional five years.

    As you know, the exemption was due to expire at the end of this calendar year, and Radio Amateurs of Canada has been lobbying for a permanent exemption since this regulation was introduced back in 2009.

    We will be providing comments to the Road User Safety Branch of MTO on this issue and will continue to press for a permanent exemption. That said, a 5-year extension is certainly welcome at this point but is not the ultimate resolution that we have been seeking.

    The only other group to obtain an extension are commercial, public transit, and public function drivers.

    You can view the notice in the provincial registry at:

    RAC and the Distracted Driving Committee wishes to thank all organisations that supplied letters of support to assist us in obtaining this extension. This shows the support we have from many Ontario organisations.

    Bill Unger VE3XT
    North/East Ontario Regional Director
    Chair - RAC Distracted Driving Committee
    Radio Amateurs of Canada

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  2. K0HZI

    K0HZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Re: Distracted Driving

    Today April 19, 2012 police in Minnesota will be on the watch for drivers using cell phones while driving and stop and issue a ticket, no warning tickets!
  3. K2NCC

    K2NCC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Although I appreciate the ability to operate my radio while driving, I think they can be just as distracting as a cell-phone.

    Other than emergencies, which hardly need permission, rigs are just as complicated as a mobile phone and I think shouldn't be exempt. You have to look further away than your phone, have a DTMF on the mic, have at least as many buttons to push, and although ham radio doesn't require putting up the mic to your ear, the volume can be just as distracting as any stereo in the car.

    There's plenty to compare that a radio is no safer than a cell-phone, so why do we ask for exceptions to the rule? As a whole, we're certainly no better than any cell-phone user while driving.

    (Besides, do you REALLY need to operate your radio any more than you do your phone while driving?)
  4. KC8VCX

    KC8VCX Ham Member QRZ Page

    does this ban apply to other types of mobile/portable radios? ...11meter (CB), FRS, business or government bands? So many of these laws are popping up to address mobile phones, but are painted with too broad a brush.

    Frank, it's true that modern rigs can be pretty complicated, but at least for me, I keep my mobile pre-tuned to the local repeater, so my operation while driving is never more than keying the mic or maybe occasionally adjusting the volume, neither operation requires me to take my eyes off the road.

    Don, KC8VCX
  5. K2NCC

    K2NCC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Neither does answering my cell-phone, even w/o hands-free, but I think the distraction they worry about is more in the head than in the device one uses.
  6. VA3CQC

    VA3CQC Ham Member QRZ Page

    YEAH. Operating mobile is one-third (the other two being base station and HT/portable) the fun of amateur radio!
  7. NW9M

    NW9M Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are Gov't and municipal employees exempt from this regulation? For example, are police officers forbidden from making phone calls and using radios while moving? If they are, do they receive any special training? If they do, why is this training not available to ordinary citizens?

    There appears to be this trend to simply prohibit things and then think up exemptions usually for groups with influence instead of coming up with new procedures that everyone has to follow. Of course that expects the population to actually learn something new as an entire group, so it can be argued that it is an unrealistic expectation.
  8. N1GHI

    N1GHI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Id have to agree with Don, If your operating your ham radio mobile most hams just have there radio set to one channel and leave it there as i do and just use a mic which by the way is not like answering a cell phone even with hands free cell phones you still have an ear piece on blocking your ears from sounds around you, or you can use speaker phone which there are very well made blue tooth speaker speakers made now so you dont have to have your ears blocked. You talking about being distracted in my state there even saying talking to your passenger is just as distracting then being on a cell phone, But hasnt ham radio been around alot longer then cell phones ? I dont know about anyone else but i never heard of anyone running there car into a grocery store by using there mic like i have seen people do being on there cell phones.
    I think it boils down to common sense while driving, if you know your in an area that needs your attention then we should pay attention to the road a little more, and i think most hams do that at least thats what i hear on the radio around around here, most hams know if they need to pay attention then they put the mic down till they can use it again.
  9. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here we go again.

    I salute the efforts of all of those here on the Zed who want to take over my mother's job. thanks for reminding me not to run with scissors. Thanks for being my conscience since I'm obviously too immature and depraved to consider the possible consequences of my actions.

    But, seriously, there is no evidence that two way radios contribute to traffic accidents, and lots of evidence to the contrary. Two way radios have been in use since the 1930's - about 80 years - and nobody has ever complained about them creating a safety issue. People using cellphones, however, seem to be oblivious to the world around them. I won't operate a cellphone while driving - I hate it when the thing rings and I'm behind the wheel. I usually answer the phone and tell the caller I will call them back when I get off the road. I find even that much to be a significant distraction.

    When you come upon some idiot driving like a moron, that's not a ham rig in hand. I was going to say 'his hand' but I've observed at least as many female idiots as males doing this. It seems that whenever I encounter really bad driving these days, there is a cellphone involved.

    But, on the other hand, the ham rig doesn't have that effect. As hams, we're used to missing bits of the conversation during a QSO, and most of us aren't afraid to say "...what was that?" to fill in the blanks. Ham conversations are not related to business, and usually not related to family, and hence, not as high on the scale of importance. We've learned to ignore the radio when something more important is going on, the same way we ignore the broadcast radio.
  10. N1GHI

    N1GHI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was told in my state by state trooper that yes Gov't municipals are exempt from this regulation and are supposed to be only using there phone for emergency's , but they still should be making an example for the public which i dont see them doing they still use there phones to chit chat with whom ever while driving. I just shake my head when i see that.
  11. N7MK

    N7MK Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of the biggest causes of traffic accidents by police officers is distracted driving while texting on their mobile data terminals.
  12. K6DY

    K6DY Ham Member QRZ Page

    So when is the government going to tell us we can't have a conversation in our car with someone riding along with us? Its also hands free.
  13. K6MWS

    K6MWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm a professional driver.
    I do and always have taken my driving VERY seriously!
    34 years of driving with NO moving violations.
    (I am also a certified law enforcement defensive driving instructor)
    Here's an example: Traffic backed up for not less than 4 miles, stop and go.
    The culprit? 6 oil cans, stacked in a pyramid on the shoulder of the road.(oooh, shiney.)
    Bottom line, some (maybe even most) people are distracted drivers, regardless of cell phones,
    stereos, computers, CB radios and yes even amateur radios. ANYTHING can distract drivers!
    I used to teach cops, after a traffic stop is initiated, turn off your overhead warning lights and use only your 4 way flashers so some dummy doesn't get distracted and drives into the back of your police car! (Just watch what happens on some of the reality shows on TV!)
    And yes, cops and other emergency responders are exempt.
    (Yes there is special training during Academy known as Emergency Vehicle Operations Course EVOC. And tons of constant training during a law enforcement or emergency responder career)
    I see on a daily basis, accidents due to people being distracted due to eating, lighting cigarettes, yelling at kids in the back seat and a variety of other excuses.
    The bottom line, just put distracted (and confused) drivers in jail for 90 days on the first offense. 5 years after the second. (Ridiculous ) Maybe talk to the auto industry and remove everything distracting from cars, talking computers, broadcast radios, CD players GPS and air conditioning. (I've seen a fatal crash due to someone adjusting the A/C controls.) I've yet to see a crash caused by Amateur Radio.
    Basically what this means is always watch out for the other person, drive like you are invisible, and be aware of your surroundings. Don't drive when sleepy, or ill. And it goes without saying, don't drive when taking drugs (even some prescription drugs) or consuming any amount of alcohol. If a person can't do these simple things, then take a bus. Uh..Wait..Bus drivers are constantly being bugged and distracted by Bozos on and around the bus... Do you see where I'm going with this? Remember when your parents, or teachers said "Pay Attention!?!"
    And again, from the soap box: If you don't like the laws, remember ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES!
  14. KJ4ZNK

    KJ4ZNK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are several differences between cell phones and two way radio communications, and this is usually noticed by those passing the laws. The first difference is that everyone can hear you; this means that conversations tend to stay away from the intimate details of life, and instead stick to lighter subjects, so less concentration is needed to ensure that your side of the conversation is correct. You are not discussing life changing events that will "make or break" you if you miss the conversation.

    Another factor with mobile two way communications is that a lot of it is about being mobile; road conditions, weather, directions, meeting with other hams, discussing where you and they are and where you are going all keep the mind focused on the fact that we are mobile. Having a conversation about what little Johnny did at school puts our minds in stationary mode, to some extent; when we are mobile and discussing home our mind is split on what it is imaging, while talking about the road during travel keeps our mind on the road.

    The other factor that I see is that the more things we do at the same time, the less attention each gets. If we listen on a radio while driving, then talk on a radio while driving, we are only doing two things at once, while with a cell phone we are listening, talking, and driving at the same time.

    And then, one other factor: If I am talking to you on the radio and miss part of what you are saying and ask you to repeat, you assume I am paying attention to my driving and are okay with that; if I am talking to my spouse on the phone, and have to get her to repeat what she is saying, then it becomes a matter of "not paying attention to her". Whether it is your boss, significant other, or mom, you will attempt to pay more attention to them on the phone to ensure they stay happy with you!
  15. K6REB

    K6REB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes we did receive training in handling the radio during pursuits, and we also found that it is better to have a partner to handle comms at that time. This had to be done because of the BS we had to put on our location, suspect description, shots fired what ever it ain't like TV.
  16. NY6U

    NY6U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Folks let's not fool ourselves here, a distraction while driving is simply put, a distraction. Whether it is generated by the use of a radio (yes Cell phones
    are radios too !), playing loud music or whatever else may be the case that could detract your attention from safely operating your vehicle.
    Legislating what can and can't be done while operating our cars at this level is silly. Traffic laws are made so that people can obey them. If they don't they pay the consequences.
    Ok so driving while intoxicated is illegal, that's a no-brainer. The illegality of the activity is almost always associated with the amount of potential collateral damage you
    can do while participating in said activity (drinking, being drunk, talking on a cell phone etc). If somebody finds significant statistics that picking your nose while driving leads to higher incidences of accidents it doesn't mean they should outlaw nose-picking while driving. Because a limit is impossible to set on situations like these this issue will
    forever remain a puzzling exercise in including some and excluding others. More job security for lawyers is all I have to say !.
  17. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Take heed of what the professional driver says, he's an expert. In Britain the police always close all lanes on roads even when the collisions are minor shunts because people are so gawpy they drive looking at the incident and not to their front and cause more minor shunts, or worse.

    When laws are made they cannot cover all eventualities so they are blanket laws which tell us, don't use a phone while you are driving or you will be fined. Whether the police can use phones while driving is immaterial. How old do you have to be to accept that there are laws for some and not others ? Maybe some people can talk while driving, but what about those lunatics who tell everybody they can read and send Morse at 20 wpm while driving at 70 mph on a freeway !
  18. N2WSK

    N2WSK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why do police officers always come up when talking about this subject? Think about it and use common sense. They use their cells for more reasons then making personal calls.
  19. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some here would incarcerate you for 90 days if you have an accident when you are picking your nose - whether or not you were actually at fault, because if you were picking your nose, you are assumed to be at fault - guilty until proven otherwise. You'd get 5 years on a second offense. Others would require you to have your nose surgically removed before being allowed to drive, in order to reduce the threat that you might, indeed, pick your nose while driving. Those with no fingers would not be exempt.

    Soon, any child caught running with scissors in school will be sent to juvenile detention and sentenced to life at hard labor.

    The fact is that mobile operation is becoming difficult enough. Indeed, changes in auto technology are making it harder and harder to install a radio in a car and keep it working. I fear that this whole issue will become moot in a few years when we're all driving these vehicles that stop and restart the engine every time you stop the car.

    We live in an era of absolutes, where 'zero tolerance' is worn like a badge of honor. Meanwhile, the sheeple go about their lives. Let the witch hunts begin!
  20. KF4JQD

    KF4JQD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have seen accidents and many close calls while drivers are texting and talking on a cell phone. I even get onto my girlfriend when she is driving and using a cell. I grew up in the CB radio hay days. I was little but don't remember all the issues. You just set your channel and leave it alone. Same can be true for ham radio. However, if I come into traffic, I sign off or just throw the mic down and pay attention to the driving conditions. If the FCC wants to give me a fine for not IDing before signing off. That is fine with me. I'd rather have a fine than be dead.
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