Mobile Handheld Device/Amateur Radio Laws by State?

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by W3TPL, Dec 27, 2016.

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  1. W3TPL

    W3TPL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Unfortunately I've seen Police on cell phones where its against the law. Likewise, I prefer to have something in writing to reference as the individual patrol officer may not be fully aware of all the stipulations of the law.

    That being said, if I got a ticket for using a speaker mic while driving as well, I would fight it. But then again, I would also prefer to avoid a day in court arguing.
    AD5KO likes this.
  2. W6GRD

    W6GRD Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is usually an exemption in the laws allowing such usage for certain groups like the police etc.
    AD5KO likes this.
  3. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    In Nevada, amateur radio is specifically exempted. I would suggest to just do searches on the internet. Every state has their laws on here. People's guesses will get you nowhere.
    I would also suggest to search every January & July for changes. Print everything out to have on hand, to inform any officers that may not properly apply the laws against you.

  4. W3TPL

    W3TPL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is what I've been doing. Was simply wondering if anyone has compiled them as to not duplicate efforts.

    Thanks anyway.
  5. K4KWH

    K4KWH Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you are concerned enough that it might significantly interfere with mobile amateur operations, it may be time for a club, group, or ARRL to find out how far states can go in restricting or governing those operations that are licensed by the Federal Government and FCC. Such local interference, tho seen to mean well, MAY constitute an overreach by states and meddling in the actual intent and interests of the US Government. While no doubt, there is a need to react to the public's apparent addiction to cellphones, texting, and electronic games, there is, in fact, no evidence to suggest that the mere use of a microphone has any significant impact on driving. Many times, we have discussed this issue on QRZ, and I simply cannot see the state's interest in interfering with an activity that has long been sanctioned by FCC, the lack of evidence to support the state's attempt to ban ALL types of electronics devices, and the fact that two way radio has never been a real factor in "distracted driving". The most significant issue here, IMHO, is the fact that it is not only licensed by the federal government, the Fed has enthusiastically endorsed and encouraged the use of mobile two way radio for years and years and years. Those factors I think would be difficult to overcome; IOW, the precedent is already recorded into US law!

    This kind of overreach not only affects Amateur Radio, but CB and commercial radio users as well--all of whom are LICENSED, not by the state, but by the Federal Government. And there are other reasons to slap the states down when it comes to LICENSED services. Some communications is NOT governed by FCC, OR any state entity. We must not forget that US Government, military, Secret Service, and other US radio operations are controlled by NTIA. Some of these mobile operations are covert, and in unmarked vehicles. Such meddling by states with the use of two way radios could cause some really sticky problems. Um.............let's say, for example, there's a USAF sanctioned disaster operation in progress. Some of their ops, and those of the CAP are conducted in white vans, either marked or otherwise. Let's say, too, that some cop sees people, uniformed or not, operating mobile radios while driving to a potential scene, and pulls the van over. Well, obviously, good chance he would encounter the people, and/or driver, see ID, hear explanation, and send the Federal people on their way. However, what *if* this is an anal cop with an authority complex who won't listen, tickets the driver, even seizes, perhaps, a handheld radio? Yes, an extreme case. But it *could* happen, and its not necessary because there is no real reason to restrict two way radio itself, and Federal restrictions on states (like the scanner law exemption) should be put into place. Better to head this off NOW than to wait.

    I fully understand the need for restricting the use of random electronic devices in cars due to the accidents being cause by careless and distracted driving. But it is NOT two way radio that's the culprit. Thus, I am adamantly opposed to such restriction on Amateur radio and any kind of two way radio useage. Actually, I believe such "laws" by the state are illegal and need to be struck down, or amended with an exemption.
    AD5KO likes this.
  6. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    A FCC license does not offer protection from these use cases - it's access to the spectrum - that's it. TV broadcasts using federal licenses - doesn't mean you can watch TV while driving. Cellular frequencies are also licensed by the FCC - again, that doesn't mean that Verizon can tell a state to get lost when it comes to their motor vehicle code. You can obtain a license from a state to operate a motor vehicle, but you have to follow the state laws regarding the operation of said motor vehicle.

    Next time your in court, pull out your HT and have a QSO - tell the judge it's "federally protected". See how far that gets you. :p

    KG5EXW likes this.
  7. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think if it is illegal to use a phone in certain areas which it is, it should be illegal to use any device which requires hands on to use in that area also.
  8. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thankfully someone has already pointed out to you that there are exemptions, and for good reason. There are exemptions to many things and they also are for good reason.
    W3TPL likes this.
  9. W3TPL

    W3TPL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, there are exemptions that allow Police to use cell phones when others can't. There's also exemptions in distracted driving and hands-free laws that specifically allow the use of mobile amateur radio (see New Jersey's hands-free law in post #1).

    This is specifically the reason why I'm looking for info on these laws. I prefer to operate within the laws. And yes, I recognize that just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's proper, such as in inclement weather, or heavy traffic.

    But I'd like to know what the line in the sand is before accidentally crossing it, and on the other hand, if I'm well within my legal rights and get pulled over for something that is specifically exempted from the law, I would like to be able to reference that law.
  10. AD5KO

    AD5KO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not being critical of what you are doing, I think it's great. Like I said, if I got pulled over for that and got a ticket I would go to court and like you, I really wouldn't want to spend time in court at all. So perhaps one thing to look at is precedents and see if there are some, I bet there are.

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