Radio Amateurs to be excluded from distracted driving legislation

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2014/05/21 - 10:00

(2014-05-21)  UPDATE:  Bill 41 received Royal Assent at 11:52 am on May 21, 2014.

New Brunswick Bill 41, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicle Act, received Royal Assent this morning (Wednesday, May 21, 2014), allowing use of a hand-held electronic device by a person "who uses a two-way radio while operating a motor vehicle on a highway if that person is the holder of a radio operator certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada)."


Bill 41 was among a long list of legislation that was passed by the Legislature during the recent sitting, and Lt. Gov. Graydon Nicholas gave Her Majesty's approval at the adjournment of the Legislature this morning.

(2014-04-23)  UPDATE:  Bill 41 has gone through third reading in the Legislature, so now all that remains is Royal Assent.  When that is done, the changes become effective immediately.  Stay tuned....

(2014-03-18)  Good news for radio amateurs in New Brunswick!  Bill 41, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicle Act was introduced in the Legislature today, allowing use of a hand-held electronic device by a person "who uses a two-way radio while operating a motor vehicle on a highway if that person is the holder of a radio operator certificate issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada)."

Before this change becomes law, it will still require further readings in the House and Royal Assent, expected in perhaps a few weeks. Until that time, you must observe the present law which allows you to use your radio only when stopped, or in a hands-free manner if in motion.

A link to Bill 41 can be found here:  http://www.gnb.ca/legis/bill/pdf/57/4/Bill-41.pdf

More news on this to follow later.  Here is the text of the provincial government news release.

Amendments introduced to clarify distracted driving rules

18 March 2014

FREDERICTON (GNB) – Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act related to distracted driving were introduced in the legislative assembly today by Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Bruce Northrup.

“In 2010, our government introduced amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act to crack down on distracted driving and make our roads safer,” said Northrup. “These new amendments will continue those efforts while addressing a public safety need involving ham radio operators.”

The 2010 amendments prohibited the use of hand-operated electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.

The new amendments will clarify that it is illegal for a driver to use a hand-operated electronic device while operating a motor vehicle even when the vehicle is stopped, such as in traffic or at a red light. However, motorists who pull off the road and bring their vehicle to a halt will be permitted to use a hand-operated electronic device.

The amendments will also exempt two-way radio operators, who are issued a permit under the federal Radiocommunication Act, from the prohibition on the use of hand-held electronic devices while operating a vehicle.

“Under the initial amendments, these ham radio operators were permitted to use a two-way radio while operating a motor vehicle during search and rescue activities or emergency operations,” said Northrup. “With this latest amendment, ham radio operators will be permitted to use their radios at any time while operating a motor vehicle.”

The change recognizes that ham radio operators need to use their radios to support community events such as parades. It also addresses a public safety need.

“Amateur ham radio operators are a valuable resource during emergencies and search operations,” he said. “In order to assist in these situations, they need to be able to develop and maintain their skills. This amendment will allow them to do so.”

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