Is Mobile Use of CB Radios Becomming Illegal?

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NE Panther
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Is Mobile Use of CB Radios Becomming Illegal?

#403285

Post by NE Panther »

Until February of 2020, I did not know of any Distracted Driving laws that banned the use of CB Radios. CB Radios have piggy-backed on Ham Radio exemptions throughout the Distracted Driving law restrictions--until now.

In February 2020 Massachusetts Distracted Driving law went into effect that only has exemptions for "Federally Licensed" 2-way radio operators. CB's are NOT licensed, so this means no more CB use while driving through the State of Massachusetts.

Also GMRS would still be allowed, but FRS would not. Here's a link to the new law:

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#403288

Post by JimboBowie »

a federally licensed 2–way radio
I bet truckers will be interested in this question.
An individual license is not required to operate a CB station and the FCC does not renew formerly issued CB Radio Service licenses.
Seems CB falls between the cracks. Methinks someone needs to contact the Mass Govt for a clarification.







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#403289

Post by jessejamesdallas »

Friend of mine got a ticket a few years ago talking on his CB going threw a school zone that had signs posted, that said basically you can not be using any kind of wireless communications device while in a active school zone....

He went to court over it, and the Judge dismissed the case...

I'm thinking CB Radio users maybe a gray area when it comes to these laws sense in the grand scheme of things, there's really not that many CB users to warrant a law prohibiting use of such devices...

Heck, who ever wrote that law stating "Federally Licensed" 2-way radio operators are exempt" probably think you still have to be licensed to operate a CB Radio!

...but I could be wrong.






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#403290

Post by NE Panther »

jessejamesdallas wrote: August 5th, 2020, 3:58 am Heck, who ever wrote that law stating "Federally Licensed" 2-way radio operators are exempt" probably think you still have to be licensed to operate a CB Radio!

...but I could be wrong.
The exemption was put in under pressure from the ARRL and local Ham Radio Groups, so CB and GMRS were not considered. Usually when 2-way radio exemptions are added they don't discriminate because there are Business Band 2-ways, and police and fire, of course, use 2-ways, but this law was short-sighted in those areas.







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#403297

Post by MDYoungblood »

There is a "distraction" rule on the books in Maryland but a citation can only be issued if the driver was doing something else wrong like driving erratically, etc.. It is good to know but being a hammie, I'm exempt.

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#403331

Post by hippieman556 »

wondering about this for Pennsylvania







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#403465

Post by Bobcat »

I'll have to go look this up again.....

A few years ago a very restrictive law like this took effect in Deer Park here where I live.

I went digging in the language of the local code......

It DID include the afore mentioned exemption for "Federally Licensed amateur radio users"

however.....

The same code spelled out (if I recall!) that you could not use any kind of electronic device that connected to a commercial server network.... or something of that ilk. I tried chasing a bit further...but everything I cam up with suggested to me that RADIO is OK (at least in MY CASE.... MY CITY!)....because it does NOT depend on any kind of commercial service.

I'll see if I can dig that up again and paste the text in here to get some other opinions.

I know MY city's ordinance won't do any good....but if some of the other communities have the SAME language in it.... it could help if you were aver ticketed/charged.







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#403466

Post by Bobcat »

Okay, and I understand that this particular bit ONLY applies to my city..... I'm just putting it up an d pointing out parts so that it might help others to locate the same kind of language in their own ordinances.....

The TWO things I want to point out are:

(first)
"(5)The operator is licensed by the Federal Communication Commission and is operating a radio frequency device other than a wireless communication device."

Okay, so if you HAVE an FCC license ... it doesn't matter WHAT kind of radio.. it just says a "radio frequency device other than a wireless communication device".

So.....what is a wireless communication device?

(second, under definitions)
"Wireless communication device means a device that uses a commercial mobile service, as defined by V.T.C.A., Transportation Code § 545.425."

note the "uses a commercial radio service". No ham, CB, GMRS of FRS uses such a service.
It would be interesting to pursue the "as defined by" part....but that is where I got lost a long time ago. Trying to track that Transportation Code down got messy quick. I gave up.

My personal "take away" was that on the WHOLE .....a RADIO is not a problem....but it is dicey when they put the part about the "licensed by the Federal Communication Commission". Ham and GMRS require an individual license so, if you have one of those... you KIND OF meet the law....even on CB....because our ordinance doesn't specify.... it literally says any RF device that is NOT a wireless communication device.

I would still think, though (bear in mind, I am NOT a lawyer....but it makes sense to BOTH of my two brain cells), that since the FCC does NOT require an individual license...BUT... they CAN REVOKE YOUR PERMISSION to USE those services.... you are inherently licensed. Same as when you buy an audio compact disk. What you are BUYING is a license to USE the audio recording.

Again, when you go to court for your ticket, presenting ideas like this MIGHT help.


---------------
The ordinance...
---------------
Sec. 66-59. - Use of a wireless communications device on a public roadway or school property.
(a)[Prohibited; exceptions; penalties.] An operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway or on school property unless:

(1)The wireless communication device is being used with a hands-free device;
(2)The device is affixed to the vehicle for use as a global positioning or navigation system;
(3)The vehicle is lawfully parked;
(4)An operator of an authorized emergency vehicle using a wireless communication device while acting in an official capacity;
(5)The operator is licensed by the Federal Communication Commission and is operating a radio frequency device other than a wireless communication device.

It shall be an affirmative defense if the operator of the motor vehicle is using the wireless communication device to obtain emergency assistance to report a crime, medical emergency, fire, traffic accident, or other emergency to a 911 operator.

Any violation of this section shall be a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $1.00 and no more than $200.00.

(b)Definitions.
Hands-free device means speakerphone capability or a telephone attachment or other piece of equipment that allows use of the wireless communication device without the use of the vehicle operator's hands.

Use means employing a wireless communication device to; dial or deactivate a phone call, speak or listen to a phone call, view, compose, or send any electronic messages such as texts, emails, pictures, or other electronic data, enter information in a global positioning or navigation system, or access or view any internet data or websites.

Wireless communication device means a device that uses a commercial mobile service, as defined by V.T.C.A., Transportation Code § 545.425.

-----------------------------------------------

( Ord. No. 3731 , § 1, 7-21-2015)

Editor's note— Ord. No. 3731 , § 1, adopted July 21, 2015, amended the Code by the addition of provisions designated §§ 66-70 and 66-71. For purposes of organization and maintaining the style and sequential numbering of the Code, said provisions have been redesignated § 66-51 at the editor's discretion.







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#403756

Post by Swanman »

Actually you are licensed by the FCC for CB Radio. It's a blanket license basically says if you use a CB radio on the assigned frequencies (channels) you are group licensed. Kind of like a shrink wrap license.







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#403757

Post by MDYoungblood »

Swanman wrote: August 13th, 2020, 7:43 am Actually you are licensed by the FCC for CB Radio. It's a blanket license basically says if you use a CB radio on the assigned frequencies (channels) you are group licensed. Kind of like a shrink wrap license.
That would make a good argument in court if you ever got a ticket for using your cell phone while driving. The provider company holds a license for the cell frequency and you are covered under a blanket license the same way.

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#403758

Post by JimboBowie »

Swanman wrote: August 13th, 2020, 7:43 am Actually you are licensed by the FCC for CB Radio. It's a blanket license basically says if you use a CB radio on the assigned frequencies (channels) you are group licensed. Kind of like a shrink wrap license.
Has all the makings of a lawyer's picnic. Probably won't be crystal clear until someone is prosecuted and a judgement is handed down.







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#404162

Post by Swanman »

True on the frequency use, but almost all states (except the Peoples Democratic Republic of Virginia) have a hands-free law. In those states with the law you cannot hold the phone in your hand up to your head while driving. You must use a Bluetooth headset or similar device. CB and Amateur Radio has an exemption to the hands free law. This has been through the courts many times in many states.

So, if you have the phone in your hand up to your head and an officer sees it you'll likely get a ticket (unless you live in Virginia). If, heaven forbid, you have an accident and it's determined that you were on a hand held phone then you could be facing jail time.







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#404170

Post by MDYoungblood »

Swanman wrote: September 1st, 2020, 8:55 am True on the frequency use, but almost all states (except the Peoples Democratic Republic of Virginia) have a hands-free law. In those states with the law you cannot hold the phone in your hand up to your head while driving. You must use a Bluetooth headset or similar device. CB and Amateur Radio has an exemption to the hands free law. This has been through the courts many times in many states.

So, if you have the phone in your hand up to your head and an officer sees it you'll likely get a ticket (unless you live in Virginia). If, heaven forbid, you have an accident and it's determined that you were on a hand held phone then you could be facing jail time.

A new Virginia law came into effect this year. Tickets for holding a cell were usually thrown out because it is your word against the ticketing officer.
The new law allows the officer to video you as evidence with his dash cam before issuing the ticket, same law goes for seat belts, actually think that is with a lot of states now. Now the catch here is before, they could not subpoena cell phone records to prove you were on the phone at the time of the ticket, now they can and to add the officer does not need to be in court if you go that route, the video is his testimony (same with seat belts). FYI.

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#405214

Post by NLToontje »

MDYoungblood wrote: September 1st, 2020, 10:47 am A new Virginia law came into effect this year. Tickets for holding a cell were usually thrown out because it is your word against the ticketing officer.
In my part of the world the word of a police office 'weighs' more than the word of a civilian because the judge assumes that a police officer always tells the truth because he has sworn an oath.
This makes it very difficult to defend yourself to a lying officer

Next to that they recently changed the law from specifically forbidding hand held mobile phones to 'forbidding to operate electronic devices' while driving.
This caused a lot of discussion in the HAM-world about mobile CB- or HAM-radio operation while driving. It looks like -for now- that mobile CB- or HAM-radio operation while driving is still allowed.

A fun fact: A German driver lost his driving license for some time because of adjusting the windshield wipers of a Tesla, because to do that, you have to use the touch screen (which is considered an electronic device).
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Now back to topic: The Dutch police recently started to use smart camera's that automatically detect if you drive with a phone in your hand. I wonder what this camera thinks about a mike in my hand :lol:







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#405217

Post by TNT1450 »

IANAL, but I think using CB radios while driving is permitted under the "federally licensed" clause. While individual CB users do not need to apply and aren't granted CB licenses, they are considered "licensed" under a blanket license agreement that as long as you agree to follow the rules you are licensed, as Swanman pointed out above. I'd think it would be very easy to convince a judge that since CB'ers are still bound by FCC rules & regulations (even if they're not strictly enforced any more) then they are still considered "licensed" in the legal sense. And if that doesn't work, ask the judge what the difference is between using a ham, business band, or public safety transceiver in a vehicle as compared to a CB. Just because a paper license isn't required doesn't mean it's really any different.







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#408080

Post by Black Lightning »

As others have said, CB radio is actually a federally licensed service. You are granted a license to use the service by virtue of keying up the radio, so long as you aren't specifically blocked from it. Keep a copy of Part 95 D in your vehicle to present to any law enforcement officers that might think to the contrary - it's right in the text.






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