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Distracted Driving Ontario

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:28 pm
by va3ts
The current distracted driving legislation has been extended to 2021.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r17475

Re: Distracted Driving Ontario

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:19 pm
by ve3efq
Time-limited exemption for amateur radio operators

13. (1) Drivers who hold a valid radio operator certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada) may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a two-way radio. O. Reg. 366/09, s. 13 (1), O. Reg. 253/12, s. 3 (1).

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/090366#s13s1

Has anyone been subject to a stop by the police about this? Are there any famous ham-radio related cases?

Re: Distracted Driving Ontario

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:52 pm
by ve3wrf
Yes, I have Paul. About 2 years ago. I carry a copy of the exemption in my vehicle and when the OPP officer was presented with it and my ham ticket, appologies were made. I suggest that ALL hams carry a copy of the newly amended exemption with them.

Re: Distracted Driving Ontario

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:41 am
by ve3efq
Good to know, Doug, that you were not arrested, sequestered in a dark room and forced to listen to Nickleback or Justin Beiber for days on end, only hoping for rescue after getting a DX QRP contact using a Super-Antenna™ from inside a concrete building next to a power generation station.

What is of interest is the next clause:
14. (1) A person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while pressing a button on a hand-held wireless communication device to make, answer or end a cell phone call or to transmit or receive voice communication on a two-way radio if the device is placed securely in or mounted to the motor vehicle so that it does not move while the vehicle is in motion and the driver can see it at a quick glance and easily reach it without adjusting his or her driving position. O. Reg. 366/09, s. 14 (1).
So, how is this condition being applied, specifically this portion?:
on a two-way radio if the device is placed securely in or mounted to the motor vehicle so that it does not move while the vehicle is in motion
It does not say 'only if'; and most people would think all ham radios are 'two way'.This portion of the text would seem to preclude using a HT radio, unless that HT was mounted in a bracket or something akin to that.

So, what ought one do?

Here is what I did: remembered a favorite passage from Thomas Hobbes:
Seeing then that Truth consisteth in the right ordering of names in our affirmations, a man that seeketh precise Truth, had need to remember what every name he uses stands for; and to place it accordingly; or else he will find himselfe entangled in words, as a bird in lime-twiggs; the more he struggles, the more belimed. And therefore in Geometry, (which is the only Science that it hath pleased God hitherto to bestow on mankind,) men begin at settling the significations of their words; which settling of significations, they call Definitions; and place them in the beginning of their reckoning.
Always begin by reading the (stipulative) definitions at the beginning of the text (this is an hermeneutic axiom for interpreting such documents):

This is how section 1 of 366/09 begins:
Definitions

1. In this Regulation,

hand microphone or portable radio” means a wireless communication device, consisting of a hand-held unit that is both receiver and microphone, that is operated by a push-to-talk function on a set frequency and that allows for voice communication but not for the transmission and receipt of voice communication at the same time; (“microphone à main ou radio portative”)

two-way radio” means a wireless communication device, consisting of a main receiver unit and a separate hand-held microphone, that is operated by a push-to-talk function on a set frequency and that allows for voice communication but not for the transmission and receipt of voice communication at the same time. (“radio bidirectionnelle”) O. Reg. 366/09, s. 1; O. Reg. 424/15, s. 1.
So, hams use terms like 'HT' and 'mobile'. Whereas the law is using 'hand microphone or portable radio' and 'two-way radio'; there is an important distinction here. If there is no separate and external microphone then it is not, at least as far as this regulation is concerned, a 'two way' radio.

Notice that the exemption in clause 13 specifically mentions only the two-way radio and not the portable radio.

The exemption, therefore, is only applying to radios that are (1) immovably mounted in the car and (2) have an external microphone. This means that HTs are not covered by the exemption unless they are (1) immovably mounted in the car and (2) have an external microphone - these are the two necessary conditions for being a 'two-way' radio according to the definitions of the regulation.

There is very little room here for other interpretations given the clarity of these definitions and, of course, these are the only definitions that matter. No other common usage or ham radio user's understanding of what an HT is, or what a mobile radio is, or what a two way radio is, is relevant either.

Does anyone know of any case where this has been tested before a court to see how these definitions have been applied in practice? Did the cops, when you, Doug, were stopped, even care what sort of radio you were using at the time?

Anyway, it looks like the exemption is quite narrow vis a vis the equipment standards that apply for the exemption to be in effect given the legal meaning of a 'two-way' radio:

This is not covered and would be illegal (for this man is not using a 'two-way' radio):

Image

While this is covered and is legal:

Image

'EFQ

Re: Distracted Driving Ontario

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:33 pm
by ve3wrf
Paul, you actually answered your own question. However for further clarification, I spoke with an OPP friend of mine. According to him a handheld portable unit or HT is acceptable for ham use while driving. What is not acceptable are persons who are NOT hams using CB or GMRS radios, cell phones, tablets or other display screens (except GPS), except as outlined in the amended regulations. Of course hams are NOT exempt if using CBs, GMRS radios, cell phones, etc except as properly mounted and used as described while driving.

Therefore hams may use radio equipment as described in the Radiocommunication Act (Canada) only. That leads us to your photos. Both are in fact acceptable.

I still recommend carrying a copy of your ticket and a current copy of the amended Ontario HTA with you.

Oh, BTW, when I was stopped the law was just in effect so the was some confusion and a learning curve on both sides to overcome.

73

Doug / VE3WRF

Re: Distracted Driving Ontario

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:18 pm
by ve3efq
I don't think the first example is legal: for that HT is neither mounted nor does it have an external microphone; so, it is not a 'two-radio' as defined by the law, and it is this type of radio that is specifically exempted; there is no evidence that the exemption applies to both definitions.

I have an HT with a bag that can be mounted to the car; and it has an external microphone; but, until that is mounted in the car, it is not a 'two-way' radio as defined by the law.

So, I am not convinced by your OPP friend's opinion given what is written in the law - it is inconsistent with both the definitions and the clauses 13 and 14; clause 13 is quite specific about what kind of radio - 'two-way' - is exempted; and 'two-way' radio is precisely defined.

Only a court's judgement would be persuasive for me on this point now (more-so given how many times the police, even in your earlier experience mentioned about this very regulation, are mistaken).

Indeed, your police friend would have a hard time making his view consistent with clause 14, specifically this part: "the device is placed securely in or mounted to the motor vehicle so that it does not move while the vehicle is in motion." Example one clearly violates this, even without considering the absence of an external microphone.

Given the definitions, it is important to note that clause 13 does not specifically include the 'portable' radio as defined by the act. But without some specific example of a case before the court where the meaning has been adjudicated it is not definitive; but, I am extremely skeptical of any interpretation of the text that makes example 1 covered by the exemption.

I was reading more of the act and it seems the only time a 'portable radio,' as defined by the act, may be used is governed by clause 14, section 2; it seems a portable device that is neither mounted to the car nor with an external microphone may be used only when paired with a Bluetooth headset or something akin to that:
(2) A person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while pressing a button on a device that is worn on his or her head or hung over or placed inside his or her ear or is attached to his or her clothing and is linked to a hand-held wireless communication device to make, answer or end a cell phone call or to transmit or receive voice communication on a two-way radio or a hand microphone or portable radio. O. Reg. 366/09, s. 14 (2).
This clause is the only clause that specifies the condition under which is it permissible to use a 'portable radio.' This makes the absence of its specification in clause 13 more likely a purposeful exclusion from the 'two-way' radio exemption. Example one clearly violates both section 1 and section 2 of clause 14.

I suppose we'd need to pen the minister and ask; I could not find a case where a judgement about this has been delivered.

EFQ.

Re: Distracted Driving Ontario

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:09 pm
by VE3PCP
ve3wrf wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:33 pm
I still recommend carrying a copy of your ticket and a current copy of the amended Ontario HTA with you.

Oh, BTW, when I was stopped the law was just in effect so the was some confusion and a learning curve on both sides to overcome.

73

Doug / VE3WRF
Good advice Doug.
Looks like business as usual if you have a mobile radio mounted in your vehicle and you are a ham.
Thanks.
Rob.