TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Ministry of Transportation may extend the exemption for hand-held, two-way radio usage under the province’s 2009 distracted driving law for an additional five years.
Before making the final decision, the ministry is soliciting stakeholder and public feedback on the issue of continuing to allow commercial drivers to use two-way, CB Radios beyond the current Jan. 1 deadline.
Because of the pervasive use of these devices among commercial drivers, MTO agreed to a three-year, phase-out to allow for the development of hands-free, two-way technologies. At the time, MTO stated that should no suitable alternative be developed to replace CBs within that timeframe, it would consider expanding the exemption.
In a letter to the Ontario Trucking Association, transportation minister Bob Chiarelli, stated that while it recognizes that a market to replace hand-held CBs has not developed at this time, the government and industry must continue to work towards a viable solution.
The Ontario Trucking Association, which supports the intent of Ontario’s ban on hand-held devices, says it would welcome an additional five-year exemption for CB radios.
OTA president, David Bradley, agrees that the market for a hands-free version of the still popular CB “is going to need more time to develop.” He says the CB “remains an important safety and social communication tool for thousands of truck drivers” and commends MTO for “choosing a regulatory path specifically for these devices that encourages the development of a suitable, readily available hands-free technology down the road but in the meantime is not disruptive to the everyday operations of countless truck drivers.”
Comments to the ministry can be made from April 16 to May 30 by way of the government’s Regulatory Registry at www.ontariocanada.com/registry.
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