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UPDATE: Rep. David Vieira, KB1QND, On Distracted Driving Bill

posted Nov 23, 2019, 11:21 AM by L Gray   [ updated Nov 24, 2019, 6:43 AM ]
Representative David Vieira, KB1QND, made a presentation on the impact of the Distracted Driving Bill, H4203, on amateur radio mobile operation at the November 23, 2019 FARA meeting.  Radio operation for public safety and emergency purposes is specifically exempted from the "hands free" requirement.  This includes events such as the Falmouth Road Race, Cape Cod Marathon, ARES events and the like.

In addition, there is a provision in existing law that appears to allow "one-handed" use of a federally licensed 2-way radio.  (MGL Title XIV, Chapter 90, Section 13).  The provision appears to exempt amateur radios from the "hands free" requirement, but this needs to be clarified.

Representative Vieira also suggested that we organize a statewide "Ham Radio Day" with educational exhibits and operating activities setup in the State House.

UPDATE:

From General Counsel of Joint Committee on Transportation:

COMMUNICATION RECEIVED FROM:

General Counsel of the Joint Committee on Transportation, via the EMA and WMA ARRL Section Managers:

Thank you very much for the chance to speak earlier concerning H4203,
the distracted driving legislation that is now before the Governor. It
is the Committee’s view that the legislation does not alter, amend or
limit existing language in section 13 of chapter 90 of the General Laws
that expressly permits use of a “federally licensed 2–way radio”
provided that “1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times.” 
I have reproduced GL 90:13 below and highlighted the relevant provision.


Section 13: Safety precautions for proper operation and parking of
vehicles and buses
Section 13. No person, when operating a motor vehicle, shall permit to
be on or in the vehicle or on or about his person anything which may
interfere with or impede the proper operation of the vehicle or any
equipment by which the vehicle is operator or controlled, except that a
person may operate a motor vehicle while using a federally licensed
2–way radio or mobile telephone, except as provided in sections 8M,
12A and 13B, as long as 1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all
times. No person having control or charge of a motor vehicle, except a
person having control or charge of a police, fire or other emergency
vehicle in the course of responding to an emergency or a person having
control or charge of a motor vehicle while engaged in the delivery or
acceptance of goods, wares or merchandise for which the vehicle's engine
power is necessary for the loading or unloading of such goods, wares or
merchandise, shall allow such vehicle to stand in any way and remain
unattended without stopping the engine of said vehicle, effectively
setting the brakes thereof or making it fast, and locking and removing
the key from the locking device and from the vehicle. Whenever a bus
having a seating capacity of more than seven passengers, a truck
weighing, unloaded, more than four thousand pounds, or a tractor,
trailer, semi-trailer or combination thereof, shall be parked on a way,
on a grade sufficient to cause such vehicle to move of its own momentum,
and is left unattended by the operator, one pair of adequate wheel
safety chock blocks shall be securely placed against the rear wheels of
such vehicle so as to prevent movement thereof. The provisions of the
preceding sentence shall not apply to a vehicle equipped with positive
spring-loaded air parking brakes. No person shall drive any motor
vehicle equipped with any television viewer, screen or other means of
visually receiving a television broadcast which is located in the motor
vehicle at any point forward of the back of the driver's seat, or which
is visible to the driver while operating such motor vehicle. Whoever
operates a motorcycle on the ways of the commonwealth shall ride only
upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto, and he shall not
carry any other person, nor allow any other person to ride, on such
motorcycle unless it is designed to carry more than one person, in which
case a passenger may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if such
seat is designed for two persons, or upon another seat which is intended
for a passenger and is firmly attached to the motorcycle to the rear of
the operator if proper foot rests are provided for the passenger's use,
or upon a seat which is intended for a passenger and is firmly attached
to the motorcycle in a side car. No person shall operate a motor
vehicle, commonly known as a pick-up truck, nor shall the owner permit
it to be operated, for a distance more than five-miles, in excess of
five-miles per hour, with persons under twelve years of age in the body
of such truck, unless such truck is part of an official parade, or has
affixed to it a legal ''Owner Repair'' or ''Farm'' license plate or a
pick-up truck engaged in farming activities. No person, except
firefighters or garbage collectors, or operators of fire trucks or
garbage trucks, or employees of public utility companies, acting
pursuant to and during the course of their duties, or such other persons
exempted by regulation from the application of this section or by
limited application by special permit granted by the selectmen in a town
or of the city council in a city, shall hang onto the outside of, or the
rear-end of any vehicle, and no person on a pedacycle, motorcycle,
roller skates, sled, or any similar device, shall hold fast or attach
the device to any moving vehicle, and no operator of a motor vehicle
shall knowingly permit any person to hang onto or ride on the outside or
rear-end of the vehicle or streetcar, or allow any person on a
pedacycle, motorcycle, roller skates, sled, or any similar device, to
hold fast or attach the device to the motor vehicle operated on any
highway. No person or persons, except firefighters acting pursuant to
their official duties, or a person exempted by regulation from the
application of this section or by application by special permit granted
by the board of selectmen in a town or by the city council in a city,
shall occupy a trailer or semi-trailer while such trailer or
semi-trailer is being towed, pushed or drawn or is otherwise in motion
upon any way. No person shall operate a motor vehicle while wearing
headphones, unless said headphones are used for communication in
connection with controlling the course or movement of said vehicle.

General Counsel
Joint Committee on Transportation
State House Room 134 Boston, MA 02133