Proposed Illinois Legislation Would Ban Licensed Amateur Radio Ops From Mobile use

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AC2FO, Jan 31, 2012.

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  1. AC2FO

    AC2FO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Friday, January 27, 2012
    Proposed Illinois Legislation Would Ban Federally Licensed Amateur Radio Ops From Mobile Operation

    Shortwave America readers, show listeners, followers, and fans: THIS IS A QST!

    Below this introductory statement by Shortwave America is a verbatim copy of an e-mail sent through today by Brad, W9FX, who is the ARRL Illinois Section Emergency Coordinator. We are all well aware by now of many states that have put "distracted driving" laws on their books and these states have been kind enough to listen to the amateur radio community and the ARRL who represents us all in these and other radio communications matters in regards to communications law and our relationship to the 50 state union as federally licensed radio communicators about the emergency service we offer and are trained to perform in times of emergency such as severe weather, floods, earthquakes, and all other manner of disaster communications. These states have exempted FCC licensed amateur radio operators from their distracted driving laws.

    The Illinois Legislature is proposing a rather dangerous and draconian "distracted driving" bill as follows in the words of Brad - W9FX:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we all have probably, to some degree, realized that this was coming. The horrific Missouri school bus crash of recent times resulting from a teen texting while driving led to a great cry to ‘ban distracted driving!’ I get it, I really do. Driving down the road while reading from a tiny little screen, typing on a midget-sized keyboard, and/or searching for iPod tunes cannot lead to safe drivers. We've all seen the results.

    Still, these activities are not, for the most part, what hams do when operating from their vehicles. We turn on a rig, dial up a frequency or a memory channel and talk into a microphone. There is no distraction, at least not in the same sense as texting-while-driving causes. The National Safety Council has no evidence indicating that the use of amateur radio gear (in general) has statistically demonstated any driving hazard or risk.

    The NSC notwithstanding, the Illinois Legislature, and, more particularly, the House of Representatives, is set to begin consideration of two proposed pieces of legislation designed to prohibit DISTRACTED DRIVING. I put that in CAPS because that’s what the intent of the legislation is purported to be. These two bills, HB3970 and HB3972, prohibit using all manner of electronic devices while one is driving unless said device is hands-free and/or voice-activated. Certain classes of operation are exempted from these bills including ‘persons driving emergency vehicles,’ someone reporting an emergency situation, or when the operator of the vehicle has the vehicle’s transmission in neutral or park and on the shoulder of the roadway.

    If this legislation passes as it is proposed, the use of amateur radio gear while driving will be outlawed in Illinois.

    Stop and read that last sentence again.

    It matters little if you are Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, independent, or apolitical - these bills are absolutely Draconian in nature. You’re a SKYWARN volunteer you say? Sure. You can operate your radio after you get off the road and when you have the vehicle’s transmission in park or neutral – but, not until. Are you thinking about becoming a Rover-class participant in an ARRL or CQ-sponsored VHF contest or, or, perhaps, hand out a few of the more rare counties during the Illinois QSO Party? Not if you’re driving and in motion, you’re not! How about chasing DX while you’re on your daily 1 hour commute into Chicago? Nope. Can’t call your buddies on the local repeater while you’re driving, either.

    We, the ARRL team here in Illinois, will weigh in with the legislature via our Stage Government Liaison, Charlie Richey, K9DUE. We are, however, to borrow a term, little more than spurious noise, to the Illinois Legislature. We aren't lobbyists. If we are to continue to enjoy the freedom to pursue our avocation, to enjoy the privileges our federal licenses grant to us, then, we Illinois hams, both individually and collectively, are going to have to get off our duffs and get involved.

    Please take this message to your clubs...take it to your local VHF (or HF) nets...put the info out far and wide – from Rockford to Cairo, Quincy to Rosiclare. Contact YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE, YOUR SENATOR, AND, THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE and let them know your feelings about this. If nobody opposes this legislation, like so many other ‘well-intended’ measures, this heavy-handed and ill-conceived attempt at legislating common sense will pass into Illinois law. Then it will be law enforcement officers that decide whether or not what you’re using in your car to communicate is legal according to their interpretation of the Illinois Vehicle Code. Not many law enforcement officers know the difference between a Sprint P2T telephone and a D-Star HT.

    I urge you to take the time to follow the links, below, read the text of these proposed laws, and make yourself heard - while there's still time to make a difference.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2012
  2. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Given that operating any radio can be as, if not more, distracting than a phone, I can't help wonder what took so long. This seems quite reasonable to me. I'd be interested in reading a rationale for treating ham radio different than any other object that distracts driving attention - other than the inappropriate "there are only a few of us" argument. Is a license supposed to imply we can't be equally distracted?
  3. WA9BOT

    WA9BOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    i will do what I can contact my legislatures about this poor piece of legislation as it pertains to radio amateurs. I have used a two-way radio for most of my adult life. As a State Trooper, Firefighter, Deputy Coronor, and licensed Amateur Radio Operator and not once can i ever recall being distracted while using a two-way radio. For amateur radio operators this is a bad piece of legislation and the Illinois Legislature should be informed with a loud NO, NO, NO.

    73s Tom - WA9BOT
  4. KE3HAY

    KE3HAY Ham Member QRZ Page

    So does that mean they should ban drinking a soda while driving and put that on the books? What about ban conversations in the car period. Better yet, NO VEHICLE used for US transportation should have a radio. No CD, MP3, nothing but quite in the vehicle when its being operated.

    My point is ban everything cause everything is a distraction? No ... this is just going to far.
  5. K6GB

    K6GB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    As a school bus driver who uses a mobile radio on a daily basis what is my standing? I know recent enacted legislation here in CA makes use of a cell phone for a commercial driver a $2750 infraction.
  6. K6LCS

    K6LCS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some of the longer URLs may not work ... but you can find them easily online ...

    The Illinois legislature currently has two bills in the works that will outlaw the use of amateur radio in a car (unless using Bluetooth or other wireless setup). HB3970 and HB3972 are in the works ...

    Rep. Karen May is the sponsor of 3970 ...

    She needs to be educated.

    3970 is currently in the Rules Committee ...

    Reps. Amico and Harris submitted 3972 ... they, too, need to be educated ...

    3972 is in the Traffic & Safety committee - and all nine committee members need to be educated ...

    And while you Illinois registered voters are at it, please CC all your communications to your local elected officials, as well as the ARRL section manager.

    Good luck, Illinois. The nation is watching - and hope to learn by your logical, methodical, intelligent counter-attack to this proposed legislation.

    Clint Bradford, K6LCS
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  7. KB1NXE

    KB1NXE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I actually believe, and challenge someone to prove me wrong, but talking to a passenger is MORE distracting than talking on a radio. How many times have you been lulled into distraction by a spouse 'panicking' while you are well in control of a situation?

    I remember one day, I drove with some help from my wife, from Dayton, OH to Denver, Co in 1 stretch. Oh, we planned to stop, but the tornadoes changed those plans. Anyway, I hit the Kansas/Colorado boarder after gawd knows how many hours of driving and got on a repeater system that blanketed the entire eastern slope of Colorado. Talking with various hams on that system kept me awake and driving and safely into Denver. Another repeater warned us about the tornadoes, but that's not germain to the conversation.

    So, let's ban passengers as well!

    I deplore you to think the argument all the way through! This is a unique problem associated with a small and very attention demanding device. A cell phone. I mean, for crying out loud, would you operate a PC while driving? No. The parallels between a cell phone and a PC are more accurate than a cell phone and a ham radio microphone!
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  8. W8FH

    W8FH Ham Member QRZ Page

    To the subjects of the Socialist People's Republics of California and Illinois: You voted them in, didn't you? I think it's great! Maybe people will finally wake up.
  9. K9DPM

    K9DPM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have an Illinois Vanity Plate on my car that say's "K9DPM". I know my governor cares about me and my opinions because he made it for me.
  10. K6LCS

    K6LCS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    >> ... You voted them in, didn't you? I think it's great!

    Ahhh, yes - yours is the great state of South Carolina, isn't it, W8FH? The state that had on the books such magnificent laws such as ...

    -Railroad companies may be held liable in some instances for scaring horses.
    -Dance halls may not operate on Sundays.
    -No work may be done on Sunday.
    -Musical instruments may not be sold on Sunday.
    -Performing a U-turn within 1,000 feet of an intersection is illegal.
    -Horses may not be kept in bathtubs.
    -It is illegal to give or receive oral sex in South Carolina.
    -When approaching a four way or blind intersection in a non-horse driven vehicle you must stop 100 ft from the intersection and discharge a firearm into the air to warn horse traffic.
    -It is perfectly legal to beat your wife on the court house steps on Sundays.
    -Every adult male must bring a rifle to church on Sunday in order to ward off Indian attacks.
    -It is a capital offense to inadvertently kill someone while attempting suicide.
    -A person must be eighteen years old to play a pinball machine.

    And on and on. Suffice it to say that most states have "lapses" in intelligence at times - no matter who the voters placed in office. Demeaning Illinois voters does absolutely nothing to assist fellow hams nation-wide.

    Clint Bradford, K6LCS
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