Cell-phone laws with 2-way radio inclusions

Wireless Devices Restrictions
HB095, Rep Riesen (2009)
HB248, Rep Moss (2009)
HB281, Rep Ray (2009)

HB290, Rep Clark (2009)
SB149, Sen Hillyard (2009)

HB95 has some good language covering/prohibiting the use of distractions while driving.  As, cyclist, motorcyclist, runner and driver, I generally am in support of the bill.  I do have a concern about including “two-way” radio traffic however.

2-way radio traffic using FRS, CB, Ham, and other push-to-talk systems I do not believe are the problem, but with the other devices listed.  Push-to-talk systems (not to include the radio style operation of some cell-phones) due to their “simplex” nature do not present the same hazards as talking on the cell phone.  Legitimate and relatively safe uses include:

  • CB Radios, are used by truckers and motorcyclists to alert other drivers of road conditions and other concerns while riding/driving together. (not just for spotting highway patrol)
  • FRS radios are commonly used for communication between motorcycle and bicyclists riding together to coordinate travel and movement, as do other groups of vehicles while travelling together such as clubs or large families travelling to an event.  Some motorcycle rider/passengers use these as well rather than a closed circuit communication system.
  • Ham, GMRS and other “licensed” radios are used for all the above, and as the users are licensed by the FCC, not sure if such a State law could limit their use

Although there is a provision for “reporting a safety hazard,” the conversations on CB’s and other radios between vehicles generally is safer than having a conversation over a phone, in part due to the push-to-talk simplex operation where there are natural pauses, which generally isn’t the case with a full-duplex cell phone conversation.

The users of these push-to-talk systems could still be subject to the existing distracted driving provisions.  Using these devices as presented in the bill would cover bicyclists (tandem or bike-to-bike) as well as they have the “all the rights and is subject to the provisions of this chapter applicable to the operator of any other vehicle.”

HB281 Also includes some good language, does not specially outline a 2-way radio, but would still fall into the general description. 

It only covers texting everywhere, and all but hands-free use in school zones and drivers under 18.  So the 2-way radio is less important in those limited congested areas.  I’d be concerned for an addition here for work zones however, truckers and motorcyclists would likely need their 2-way radios more in these areas.

HB248 is basically a “hands-free” bill.  Again, does INCLUDE the use of 2-way radios by definition.  As these are push-to-talk devices, they cannot be hands free due to FCC regulations.  The act of having a duplex conversation is the problem, not the hands free aspect.

None of the bills discuss the usage while stopped at a light or even stopped on the road due to an accident. And HB281 even prohibits it use while in a parking lot?... Isn’t that where you SHOULD pull over to text or talk at, assuming you are stopped?

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