Ontario bans non-hands free devices while driving.
Yes it is true! Ontario has finally banned cell phones while driving. Drivers may wear earpieces or use in car speakerphone technology, however they can no longer text, dial or hold a phone to their ear while driving. Drivers are also banned from being able to view ANY display screen while driving. The only exceptions are 'equipted' GPS units, and screens which are built in to the vehicle to monitor or control functions of the vehicle. This basically means that Laptop computers, DVD players and other such devices can not be mounted in view of the front seats. A note of interest to HAM Radio operators, is that "The use of hand-held radios by amateur radio operators (who provide assistance, especially in emergency situations such as severe storms and blackouts) will be phased out within three years, to allow hands-free technologies to be developed." Now, the way I read that, is that the law specifically applies to hand held radios, and mobile radios with hand held microphones are exempt. Most savvy HAM's have mobile radios anyhow. And most new portable (or hand held) radios have a VOX mode for a headset. The problem that I see happening with the VOX for HAM's is that it is very possible to inadvertently swear over the air, as Toronto traffic often makes people swear. This also will likely cause a lot more dead keying, as traffic noise or broadcast radio noise (music) causes the radio to open up without the operator knowing. The airwaves are noisy and busy enough in the Toronto area to have to deal with dead keying, or someone sitting on their microphone, or someone swearing at traffic. All of which would be violations of the HAM Operating rules. Sure HAM's will likely come up with solutions for this problem. A few years back, I had designed a in vehicle VOX / Communication system for my Van. Which would require all passengers to wear headphones (the driver wearing a half headset) and allow any passenger to key up any radio at the press of a button at their seat. And also use the intercom to talk between the rear and front of the van. But this is an expensive and very geeky solution. While I agree that cell phones are bad, I disagree that HAM radio operators should be targeted. While yes, some hand held radios are way too big to be holding while you drive, I believe that if someone was using them in such a way as to be operating the vehicle in an un-safe manner, they should just be charged with dangerous driving. There are many small hand held radios which fit comfortable in your hand while driving. And the thing with radios is that you do not have to hold them to your ear, so you can keep your eyes in-front of you while you talk and listen. Not to mention you can usually hold and key a small portable radio while still having both hands on the steering wheel. The creation of this law likely causes more problems for HAM operators then what it is worth.