EXCLUSIVE: Trucker says he was ticketed for using CB in Ont.

NANAIMO, B.C. — First it was smoking in a truck cab that was targeted by Ontario police. Now CBs too?

Nanaimo, B.C. trucker Lyle Christie was traveling through Kapuskasing, Ont. when he saw a couple of four-wheelers using a right turn lane to pass a tractor-trailer.

Christie picked up his CB and warned the other trucker about the passing motorists. In turn, the other trucker warned Christie there was an OPP officer behind him with lights flashing.

Christie’s account is that he looked in his side mirror and couldn’t see a police cruiser behind him, but steered his load of frozen poultry to the side of the road anyway. Sure enough, the trucker on the other end of the CB was right.

It was a little after 7 p.m. on March 27, and according to Christie, two officers approached his window. They appeared irate at having to follow Christie along the highway and approached the cab with their hands on their holstered firearms. He says they yelled for him to keep his hands on the steering wheel.

Freaked out, Christie claims he told the officers he never saw their vehicle behind him because they must have been tucked in too close to his trailer. The only reason he pulled over was because he was on the CB and another driver notified him of the flashing lights.

The officer told Christie he was trying to pull him over for speeding, which Christie denies because, "the road is so rough you can’t even do 30 km/h there." 

Perhaps an isolated incident, but one trucker says he
was ticketed for using a CB radio under Ontario’s
held-held device law, even though they’re
supposed to be exempted under the rule for three years.

“If I was going more than 50 km/h I’d be amazed," he tells todaystrucking.com. "I hate to speed through those little towns on the highway because the people that live there just hate it."

But in the end, the officer who pulled Christie over didn’t issue him a speeding ticket. Since the trucker had admitted to using his CB from behind the wheel, the OPP officer issued Christie a $150 ticket for using a hand-held communication device, even though CBs are supposed to be okay under Ontario’s new distracted driving laws.

“I’m definitely going to fight it,” says Christie. “It’s a crock.”

The OPP declined to comment on the incident.

When the province first rolled out the rules, truckers using their CB radios while driving were supposed to be exempted from the law for three years until the market came up with a suitable hands-free two-way radio.

But now even that provision is in doubt as the Transport Ministry is reconsidering the CB part of the ban altogether. Recently, the Ontario Trucking Association received the following message from the MTO: "We have noted the OTA’s concerns and we acknowledge that, before the sunset date, the ministry will review the appropriateness of the exemption in consultation with the industry."

While it is good news for truckers, it doesn’t do much for Christie right now, in what appears to be a fairly isolated incident.

The Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada, the Truckers’ Voice, and the OTA, all tells us they are not aware of any of their members receiving distracting driving tickets for using a CB radio.

According to Bob Nichols, head of communications with the MTO, the law as its currently written should allow truckers to use their CB radios while driving, for the next three years at least.

“We only say, here’s what the legislation says,” he explains. “It’s up to the officers to interpret that act and decide whether a ticket or charge is warranted. Then, ultimately, it’s up to the courts to decide whether or not that ticket or charge is valid.”

Christie says it’s going to cost him about five times the amount of the fine to hire someone to fight the ticket on his behalf.

“I’m not going back into Ontario again,” he says. 

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