Microphone no different than cell phone: police 0
KAWARTHA LAKES - Local police are advising amateur CB and ham radio users to adhere to the new driver distraction legislation, saying a microphone is no different than a cellphone. However, the MTO said if those radios are being used to assist in an emergency situation, users are covered under three-year exemption until January 1, 2013.
City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service Acting Staff Sergeant Kirk Robertson told the Lindsay Post on Tuesday (Feb. 2) that in non-emergency situations "they should be pulling over to the side of the road."
He said there was a three-year phase out on the use of hand-held two-way radios for police, fire, emergency medical services, the public service and commercial vehicles, such as transport trucks - to allow for the development of hands-free solutions - but that did not extend to amateur radio users who are simply communicating.
Ernie Roylance, treasurer of the Victoria Haliburton Amateur Radio Association, said that was his understanding as well.
"It's the same as a cell phone. A microphone is a hand-held device," he said.
He said ham radio and CB operators will also have to wait until hands-free solutions are developed for their older radios.
He isn't necessarily happy about it, though, saying amateur radio is regulated by the federal, not the provincial government. He added amateur radio operators have been successful in getting exemptions in some other provinces and the Radio Association of Canada is expected to take up the fight in Ontario.
In the meantime, he says "I can pull over and use the radio." But as the MTO clarified on Tuesday, Feb 2 for the Lindsay Post, he can use it in an emergency.