Bruce, VE3QRP, — nice call Bruce but you’ll never be able to operate QRO with a straight face — has a very thoughtful post on Bill 118 and amateur radio use at this blog here VE3QRP.
Right now, in Canada, some provinces are totally exempting the use of amateur radio from their distracted driving Bills and others, most notably Ontario, are going to make hands-free in all moving vehicles where the driver operates a two-way radio mandatory. And, as I’ve said before: Hands-free isn’t the end of amateur radio mobile as we know it. It’s relatively easy to do. The question comes down to more of: Is it necessary to make provincial roadways safer?
I hate to be harsh here but let’s not waste time beating our chests claiming “our rights” and “they” can’t do this to us. They can and they have.
In those provinces where amateurs have made convincing arguments (often to sympathetic ears in government), exemptions have been forthcoming. In Ontario, based on results, we didn’t find friends in high places when we needed them. I’m not blaming anyone here (and in fact if there’s any responsibility it may well be mine as I live in Ontario and aside from the fact I volunteered to be on the RAC executive this year I could have done more to connect with my local MPP long before I needed him or her to help me now.).
The fact that the provincial laws are all over the map may help us in the long run. The fight to exempt amateur radio from the distracted driving legislation isn’t over yet in my opinion. I’d like to see the amateurs in especially Ontario get together and work towards a permanent exemption. As Bruce, VE3QRP, points out in his blog that might not be easy and any exemption must be based more on scientific fact (which we may or may not be able to gather) rather than opinion and angry, hurt outbursts from a few.
Let’s work together.