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Alberta to ban recreational use of CB radios

EDMONTON, Alta. - Alberta will ban the recreational use of the CB radio as part of what it calls the "most comprehensive distracted driving legislation in Canada."

EDMONTON, Alta. –Alberta will ban the recreational use of the CB radio as part of what it calls the “most comprehensive distracted driving legislation in Canada.”

Bill 16, the Traffic Safety (Distracted Driving) Amendment Act, 2010, restricts the use of handheld cell phones as well as the use of other potentially distracting devices, including the CB radio.

Under the rules, drivers will only be able to use CB radios if: they are operating pilot vehicles and must maintain contact with another vehicle; they are using the radio to contact their employer where the employee is required to maintain radio contact; to participate in a search, rescue or emergency situation; or when the CB is operable in hands-free mode. How exactly police will enforce the rule remains to be seen.

“This is a great day for traffic safety in our province,” said Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette, who has been typically seen as a trucker-friendly politician. “This legislation is a bold approach and goes beyond restricting cell phones and deals with the broader issue of distracted driving. Our message is clear: Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.”

To confirm the rules will affect commercial truck drivers and their time-honoured tradition of conversing via the CB radio, Truck News sought clarification from Tara Peters, a spokesperson with Alberta Transportation’s Office of Traffic Safety.

“Drivers, including commercial truck drivers, who are required by their employer to maintain two-way radio communication, for example via a CB radio, may use a hand-held twoway radio communication device for the purposes of contacting their employer while acting within the scope of that individual’s employment,” she said. “Recreational use of a hand-held twoway radio communication device is not permitted under Bill 16.”

Maybe we were in denial when we asked again if a truck driver will be in violation of the law when using the CB radio for conversational purposes?

But alas, she confirmed: “Yes, the bill specifies that hand-held two-way radios can only be used by drivers who are required by their employer to maintain twoway radio communication for the purposes of contacting their employer while acting within the scope of that individual’s employment.”

Violating the new rules, which could take effect by mid-2011 will net drivers a fine of $172 with no demerit points.

The province says it will be launching a public education and awareness campaign to familiarize drivers with the rules.

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2 Comments » for Alberta to ban recreational use of CB radios
  1. Carol Stober says:

    A question: In sever weather and on bad roads, would it be considered illegal to talk to other truckers on a CB or mike phone for information on hazards that could be ahead. Possible animals on the road. Maybe there is an accident ahead or vehicles parked on the road. Could these hazards be considered “emergency management situation” as stated in the communication devices considered illegal in the legislation.

  2. Tony Johnson says:

    I would ask Minister Ouellette if changing a radio station on the radio, turning on or off your heating, A/C, lights, or windshield wipers on is next? How about looking at your speedometer to check your speed? How about driving with an infant in the baby seat and checking the rearview mirror to make sure your child is ok? Looking for address, lookimg over your shoulder before a lane change? All of these things take your eyes momentarily off the road and no one has ever thought of this as an issue in history. We all know what and how this distracted driving issue came to be. TEXTING. We all know why…lack of enforcement for violators. The fines were no more than the cost of a night out on the town. So..people contimued to do it. That is it. That is all it will ever be. Why punish everyone on a broad scale because enforcing a law for texting while driving was NOT actively persued and minimally fined..which ultimately did nothing to stoo texting while driving. As I am writing this sitting in a parking lot facing the street, I can count 4 out every 10 cars has a driver looking at their phone. You are giving allowances for Emergency personel, and drivers that must maintain contact with their company. Is there some sort of special training, licensing or certification that these people had to go through that makes them more capable or driving a vehicle with a CB? If not then what younhave done is make a Bill that is targeting certain citizens while allowing other citizens freedom. That should be a footnote on your legacy.

    People have been using CB’S for more than 40 years without any measure of concern. To say this law is the most comprehensive is merely saying “Look what I did to get my name in the history books” What you really are doing is amputating an arm for a hangnail.

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