North Carolina is working on a "Distracted Driving" Bill

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K4KWH, May 7, 2018.

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  1. K4KWH

    K4KWH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Like I said earlier, let's ban DRIVING. Let's ban......................everything! The whole thing comes down to what DOES cause distracted driving and what does NOT. The mere use of a two way radio has but a minute affect on driving--about the same as turning up the volume on your FM radio. Even if using the traditional dials and buttons.

    I just heard from Laura Smith this morning who is forwarding my email to the Wireless Bureau again today.


    Amateur Radio and "Distracted Driving"
    Priority: Normal Date: Monday, May 14, 2018 7:22 AM Size: 17 KB
    I was out on Friday and did not see this until this morning. I will send this
    to the appropriate person in the Wireless Bureau.
    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Friday, May 11, 2018 5:07 PM
    To: Laura Smith <>
    Subject: Amateur Radio and "Distracted Driving"
    Dear Ms. Smith
    In recent years local jurisdictions have been dealing with the issue of cell
    phones and distracted driving. In doing so, they have often "lumped" amateur
    radio in with their local/state laws. They apparently believe they have the
    ability to enforce restrictions upon licensed amateurs and can write tickets
    because the police so much as see a antenna upon a vehicle. This is even if the
    amateur is NOT using his radio, and sometimes police view the presence of said
    antenna as a threat.
    I wrote FCC both in January and, not receiving a response, I wrote once again to
    the Licensing Bureau upon your advice. To date, I have been ignored. My
    purpose in writing was 1) alert FCC that this local "enforcement" was either
    happening, or ABOUT to happen pending legislation, 2) to question whether the
    state has the right to restrict, "enforce", or punish amateurs for using their
    lawfully licensed radios up to and including MOBILE amateur radios. Some
    states, upon the advice and assistance of ARRL, have included exemptions for
    amateur radio. Others' ordinances are somewhat vague and *might* result in
    ticketing of licensed amateurs due to confusion and misinterpetation of such
    I question states' authority to enforce "distracted driving" laws on amateurs
    for several reasons. First of all, there is a huge technical difference in the
    way the two devices operate. Mainly, that two way radios are "SIMPLEX" and
    cellphones are "DUPLEX". This means the two way radio sends information IN to
    the user ONE WAY. The user then responds, again ONE WAY, back to the sender.
    The cell phone sends AND receives info ALL AT THE SAME TIME. IMHO, this is what
    almost DEMANDS the user become immersed in the phone and involuntarily compels
    the user to become directly involved in the activity IMMEDIATELY. Thus,
    "Distracted Driving". The two way radio does no such thing and crashes are
    almost non-existent. Studies have shown there is little to NO impact on driving
    attributable to the use of a two way radio. I also point out that during the CB
    craze of the late 70's there were THOUSANDS of CB radios installed in cars and
    trucks. Cell phones didn't exist then. IF "distracted driving" was to become an
    issue BECAUSE of a "radio", WHERE was the "distracted driving" THEN? There WERE
    no cell phones then. So HOW can you now say, after 70 years of various mobile
    two radios, that two way radios are PART of distracted driving? They are NOT!
    It IS the CELL PHONE that is the culprit here. If some device is to be
    "punished" for an activity, then let's punish that which is causing the problem,
    NOT the innocents!
    I next question states' right to restrict mobile amateur radio because of FCC's
    regulatory and traditionally SOLE authority over LICENSED two radios (and over
    other Parts of Title 47 applicable to each service). States may not now govern
    interference FROM amateur stations on their own regulatory authority and must
    contact FCC for same. Two way radios, commercial, CB, amateur have always been
    governed by FCC. The stations' authority to operate comes directly FROM FCC
    (Direct licensure); cell phone users are CONTRACT devices whereby the server
    holds the license from FCC and generally sets rules for their use. In the case
    of amateur stations, not only has mobile amateur operation been authorized, it
    has been encouraged by FCC for 70 years. At this time, I would like to call your
    attention to FCC Docket 91-36, a friend of the court Brief filed on behalf of
    amateurs in what became known as "the Scanner Law Case". States passed laws
    prohibiting ANY mobile receiver that "scans" OR is capable of receiving police
    frequencies. (What they are scared of, I don't know). Cops were writing
    tickets to duly licensed amateurs and SEIZING their equipment. FCC responded by
    filing this referenced Brief. In this Brief, there are some very clear comments
    on FCC's and Congress' intent that, again, MOBILE amateur radio was part of our
    emergency infrastructure, and that restrictions on such were frowned upon. I
    quote briefly,
    "....................We believe that the strong federal interest in supporting
    the emergency services provided by amateurs cannot be fully accomplished unless
    amateur operators are free to own and operate their stations to the fullest
    extent permitted by their licenses and are not unreasonably hampered in their
    ability to transport their radio transmitting stations across state and local
    boundaries for purposes of transmitting and receiving on authorized
    "........................., the Commission has expressly amended its rules to
    facilitate and encourage unrestricted mobile amateur operations as we noted in a
    recent rule making proceeding to modify the rules governing the amateur radio
    I would encourage you to read this Brief further. As I understand it, it makes
    NO bones about the Federal interest in furthering the use of amateur radio (as
    well as other Part-governed services. To now cause LICENSED amateurs who
    volunteer untold hours to public service to be "punished" for an activity that
    is NOT causing the actual problem is simply wrong and will neither accomplish
    the goals of the Federal Government OR that of the state. IOW, restricting
    amateur radios will not impact distracted driving either way because its impact
    on a driver's attention is already minute. Such could have an unintended result
    on emergency services in that it could cause amateurs to become angry and NOT
    respond to emergencies in states who have such onerous laws. It is further
    HYPOCRITICAL to ask amateurs to come help during a state disaster in one breath,
    then TICKET them for using their radios in the other.
    There are other consequences that the states may not foresee. For example,
    there are stations who are not governed by FCC, rather by NTIA. I speak
    specifically about the Civil Air Patrol, the Auxiliary of the US Air Force.
    Their volunteers often respond to disasters and USAF-authorized emergency
    missions. Let's say, a CAP volunteer responds to a call-out and to a factual
    mission #. He may, or may NOT be in uniform.
    Bubba cop sees this vehicle with an antenna and/or someone talking on a
    "device", stops him and issues him a ticket for "distracted driving". I don't
    know about others, but I know what *I* would do. I would haul the state/city AND
    Mr. Cop personally into Federal court on charges of interfering with an actual
    USAF, military mission. This is only what *could* happen if such bad, but
    well-meaning laws were to be passed.
    I am ASKING for a Declaratory Ruling FOR amateur radio as well as ALL license
    radio services that such local laws shall be null and void, OR that Federal
    exemptions be placed for licensed services and that any such action BY a state
    (law, ordinance, etc) could only be enacted with PROOF by the state that such
    radio services ARE contributing to distracted driving and ONLY with approval and
    advice of FCC regarding these directly licensed services.
    I ask you to help me get this in front of the right people at FCC and I, again
    ask for this Declaratory Ruling.
    Jerry Oxendine
    Gastonia, NC
    ARS K4KWH "

    You may think me a kook, but I am very alarmed at the prospects of such laws and what impact it may have on our hobby in the future. If the states get their "foot" in the door, then what other bad laws will they come up with to our detriment?
    ND6M likes this.
  2. N4QWK

    N4QWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    [QUOTE You may think me a kook, but I am very alarmed at the prospects of such laws and what impact it may have on our hobby in the future. If the states get their "foot" in the door, then what other bad laws will they come up with to our detriment?[/QUOTE]
    That is exactly what these nanny state types are doing. They get their foot in the door and then they continually press for more and more. Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
    W4POT and ND6M like this.
  3. K4KWH

    K4KWH Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is exactly what these nanny state types are doing. They get their foot in the door and then they continually press for more and more. Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."[/QUOTE]

    And the worst of it is, WE (the amateur community seem(?) resigned to it! We sit and moan, criticize each other, engage in what amounts to a p***ing contest, and do..............................nothing while Rome burns. I ask that each one of us that wants to preserve our amateur privileges, as well as personal freedom itself, to write FCC. Write Laura Smith. Request she forward our concerns to the Wireless Bureau. I think we can stop this if we try. If we sit here and ridicule each other's opinions and efforts, the nanny state will get what it wants. Two way radio is NOT to blame for distracted driving.
    N4QWK and W4POT like this.
  4. K2EZ

    K2EZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That is flat out factually wrong. I agree looking up a phone number would be akin to TXTing, but there is a great deal of research showing it is the cell phone conversation that is the issue and it makes no difference if one is holding the phone talking or talking hands free.

    The "hands free" laws have always flown in the face of the data, but as a society we seem bound and determined to make sure cell phone use is protected. Yet often those same laws are seeking to block amateur radio. Address the problem, not throw a whole bunch of dirt other places to distract from the real problem in order to justify cell phone use. The CA law even specifically permits making a swipe to use a cell phone.

    Your hyperbole about ham radios having lots of controls, that goes along with because there is an antenna on the roof the driver must be distracted. And many of the car's own systems are no less complex and unnecessary. Most mobile rigs have few controls and even fewer one needs to operate. Microphones have been used for a long time, have good ergonomics. Swapping that out for a bunch of wires, for a headset, and hardware with other quirks makes for worse ergonomics.
  5. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Moderator Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    So i'm factually wrong, but you agree with me.

    Ok got it... Thanks.
  6. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    What are my choices of dressing on your 1392 word salad?
    N6HCM likes this.
  7. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    You sure like to change horses in mid stream.

    He agreed with one little part of your overall incorrect viewpoint.
  8. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Moderator Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    So are you making this about me or the topic of discussion?
  9. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like that song... Tower of Power are the kings of funk...
  10. K4KWH

    K4KWH Ham Member QRZ Page

    See there. "Digs" are what I get. That's OK. It has occurred to me that, perhaps, some of us are also invested in having cell phones "protected" in some way while punishing amateur radio--even we ourselves who are amateur ops that use cell phones. Perhaps we are also tied so psychologically to our cell phones (just like the general public), that we feel that those things that don't contribute to distracted driving should also be "punished". Maybe that makes sense as it seems that people (including hams?) are so desperately tied to their phone that, in their minds, it wouldn't be FAIR to restrict them without also making things "equal" by punishing that which is NOT causing the problem. It's beginning to look that way.

    I know the post(s) are lengthy. But I am hoping that I will not be alone in writing equally long emails/letters, etc to FCC to stop this unnecessary interference from the nanny state!

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