Cellphone law?

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Delivers1234

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Does this apply to ham radio?

SEC. 2. Section 23123.5 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.
(b) This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.
(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.
(f) For the purposes of this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.
SEC. 3. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
 

mmckenna

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That's a good question. I hadn't read the law yet, but I knew it was coming.

Usually there is an exception in these laws for a hand held microphone for a two way radio.

I think this is the section right here that makes 2 way radio OK using a hand held microphone:

"(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger."

They could have worded it a bit better/clearer. So, it looks like if the radio is mounted to the dash and you only use your finger to activate it, that's OK. At least that's my interpretation. But hey, I'm just some guy on the internet handing out free advice. I wouldn't trust me on that.

I'd encourage you to call your local PD or better yet, the California Highway Patrol and ask them. They'll help you interpret the law. Let us know what they say.
 

Aero125

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The original drafts of the law specifically exempted ham radio, but the final version that got signed didn't. The ARRL admittedly dropped the ball and didn't notice this until it was too late. The spirit of the law is obviously against distracted driving but of course the letter of the law is unclear. If someone gets a ticket for picking up a mic and talking, that can be interpreted different than someone pushing buttons deep into the menu of a radio while driving (on a fully installed radio.) It's up to individual cop or departments to decide policy until it hits the court system for clarification and precedent.
 

NC1

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Being that the law is muddy and somewhat unclear on mobile radios, there are a few things that must be taken into consideration.

The law or statute has two components that must be met in order to find a violation:
1) the alleged violation must clearly be identifiable and defined as written,
2) the alleged violation must not be at odds with the intent and spirit in which it was written.
Those two must agree - so if the violation meets the letter of the law, but not the spirit, then a violation cannot be brought.

Lets say the police write ticket even though the two elements above do not mesh. Then you need to find out where the problem lies. In all likelihood, the officer was a little too eager to issue a ticket, in which case the case should be thrown out.

If it is not, because the law as written is unclear or vague to the point it can be interpreted two ways, it must then be interpreted to be of benefit to the one to whom it is being used against. Again, the case should be thrown out.

From what I see, it would appear that it cannot be used against someone using a microphone attached to a two-way radio - either installed, or a HT on the console or seat.

Just my $.02 anyway based on experience and a lawyer friend, but what does he know anyway.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Geez what a weasel worded statute. who writes this stuff? "attached to a windshield like a GPS", "activated with swipe of a finger?" This seems so unenforceable and ludicrous. I think I would just risk the $20 or $50 fine and see them in court.
 

KK4JUG

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Being that the law is muddy and somewhat unclear on mobile radios, there are a few things that must be taken into consideration.

The law or statute has two components that must be met in order to find a violation:
1) the alleged violation must clearly be identifiable and defined as written,
2) the alleged violation must not be at odds with the intent and spirit in which it was written.
Those two must agree - so if the violation meets the letter of the law, but not the spirit, then a violation cannot be brought.
But only a court of competent jurisdiction can make a decision on those two items. It's not likely that an preliminary hearing or arraignment hearing could do that.

If that's the case, it means that one would probably be involved in a trial situation.
 

Rred

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You take a pencil and cross out the stuff that obviously doesn't apply, and what you've got left is:

"23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a ...electronic wireless communications device unless [it is] configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.
(b) This section shall not apply ...if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The...electronic wireless communications device is mounted ... a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function ...with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger."

And that's all. If the radio is permanently installed or "affixed", and you can use one hand or finger to press the PTT button on the mike, it is legal.

Now, having said that. There's a rather infamous case that came up in NYC about ten years ago. NYC follows the NYS motor vehicle code, which in theory bans radios including the ones in police cars (!), with a special statutory exemption for ham radios. Ham radios are specifically allowed to be used while a car is being driven.

Except, one well-known and respected operator was sitting in his car--not driving--working setup on a major parade event. A traffic cop wrote him up for using a "phone" without the required hands-free equipment. The ARRL got involved in his legal defense, and they explained to the traffic magistrate that a) he was not using a telephone, by federal definition a "telephone" has to be hardwire connected somehow into the landline system, and that b) he was a licensed operator using a ham radio, which NYS law specifically allows.

And the magistrate said something like "I don't care, that's a phone, pay the fine."

The law was clear, the ham was doing nothing illegal, the fine was way less than the thousands it would have cost to appeal the idiot magistrate. He gave up.

You may find yourself in the same position. Cops generally don't know or care what "equipment" really is, and traffic courts often are just local money-making machines staffed by someone's nephew, who has no legal or technical training either.

Caveat emptor.

Keep a certified copy of the traffic code in your vehicle, so you can produce it on demand if you need to show a cop what the law actually is. (Usually you get that at a DMV office.) If it is not an official copy, it doesn't have to be looked at, or followed.
 

902

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These laws all miss the point. It's got much less to do with hands on the steering wheel than the legislatures think.

The two major problems are: 1) eyes off the road, and 2) conducting a "full duplex" conversation with someone who cannot directly interact with your environment takes away from your brain's capacity to both drive and conduct the conversation.

The first, eyes off the road, you're looking at a screen and maybe working it (doesn't matter if it's the phone, the GPS, car-mounted cellphone console with Bluetooth, or texting, although texting is the worst of the batch), the second you are being prompted to give your priority to dialogue and feedback to the caller rather than driving.

One of the things that's usually not considered is that a simplex conversation (I talk, you can't interrupt me, I finish, you talk, I can't interrupt you, going back and forth like that) is that you don't feel as though you have to answer up immediately. You wait until a hazard is cleared, and you pay much greater attention to driving and less to talking.
 

bharvey2

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This is poorly written. If you break down section (a), it contradicts itself. How can it be okay to hold a hands-free device?

Sections (c) 1 and 2 would seem to allow the use of mobile radios (permanently mounted) so long as holding down the transmit key is considered "a swipe of the finger". Using a handheld might be interpreted as illegal since it isn't attached to the windshield, dash or center console. Mounting it in a holder and using a handheld mic seems like it would be okay.

Just my take on what I read however. Unfortunately the CHP doesn't consult me before writing citations so I suspect this will have to be tested in the real world.
 

ff2sherman

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In looking at the Law you can use your phone or any wireless device.
No wireless device is Specifically designed and configured "To Allow Voice-Operated and Hands-Free Operation"
So in reading this section a of 23123.5
Smart Devices are Not Specifically designed for Voice-Operated nor Hands-Free operation, They are multiple use devices


Does this apply to ham radio?

SEC. 2. Section 23123.5 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.
(b) This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.
(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.
(f) For the purposes of this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.
SEC. 3. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
 

Delivers1234

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I don't live in California but he's right. Even with California's sometimes unique laws, the officer has to have a reason to pull you over. It's called probable cause. They're not supposed to be able to stop you just because they don't like your looks. Don't give 'em a reason.



I know there are exceptions, in a roadblock, for instance. And there are gung ho cops who can come up with some type of reason but these are exceptions. Like I said above, don't give 'em a reason.


When u pick up your mic to your mouth...


If I had someone installed a manufacturer installed system, am I exempt?
 

KK4JUG

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When u pick up your mic to your mouth...


If I had someone installed a manufacturer installed system, am I exempt?
I don't know California law. "Someone" can't install a manufacturer-installed system. I would think that it would have to be the manufacturer. Will your vehicle manufacturer install anything with a mic?
 
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Delta33

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Here in Florida, Crown Vics are usually driven by blue haired old ladies and frail old men who can't see above the dashboard. I rented one a couple years back and it had a cassette player radio!

But I was reading where a guy bought a Police Interceptor Crown Vic at auction and the police hassled him because it had a Police Interceptor badge , they claimed he was impersonating an officer. The registration for the vehicle clearly says Police Interceptor, so why should he have to remove that badge?
. Those are the kind of ... Cops that Need to be told to go Pound sand !
 

gmclam

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New law is poorly written

If they really wanted to enforce distracted driving, all they need to do is enforce the laws already on the books (prior to 1/17). The CHP should be embarassed by the number of violations I see on my typical daily 10 mile drive.

I believe one of the reasons they are not stopping for use of cell phones is the lack of teeth. Even this new "no touch" law is only $20 for a first violation (yeah I know other costs can add up). What I'd rather see is no laws that restrict "cell phone use", and your moving violation fine triples if you are using a cell phone at the time (touching, texting, talking, etc). This will put teeth into the law so it is obeyed/enforced.
 

kma371

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If people want to discuss the law directly as it pertains to California go right ahead. I've deleted some off topic posts to clean this up...old ladies driving crown vics , getting pulled over in 1986 and passengers have no relation to this topic. Thanks.
 

Delivers1234

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If people want to discuss the law directly as it pertains to California go right ahead. I've deleted some off topic posts to clean this up...old ladies driving crown vics , getting pulled over in 1986 and passengers have no relation to this topic. Thanks.


It seems to me that if the radio is installed the section does it apply. My equinox has the hands free Bluetooth for the cell phone so my cellphone does not apply. My radio are installed as well. If you have a cell Phone in the car, but not on a Bluetooth or something similar, then u have to follow the rules.

At one point I'll need to put the mike up on my mouth to speak.....
 

Delta33

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Just DO it. There's WAY to much fear generated by Stupid, unenforceable laws, written by Idiots who barely know How to use their cell phone, much less ANY transmitting Radio ! IF you want to transmit when mobile, then DO it !
 

JeffDS3

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If people want to discuss the law directly as it pertains to California go right ahead. I've deleted some off topic posts to clean this up...old ladies driving crown vics , getting pulled over in 1986 and passengers have no relation to this topic. Thanks.
Sorry, I was just showing that not all officers know the law as they should and was advising to find a more experienced officer to make sure the info they get is correct.
 

kma371

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Sorry, I was just showing that not all officers know the law as they should and was advising to find a more experienced officer to make sure the info they get is correct.
That's really irrelevant. Officers can all have different opinions on the law. Experience or no experience. If you need someone to interpret the law, contact an attorney as they are the ones who prosecute or defend :)

Especially one this vague.
 

KK4JUG

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That's really irrelevant. Officers can all have different opinions on the law. Experience or no experience. If you need someone to interpret the law, contact an attorney as they are the ones who prosecute or defend :)

Especially one this vague.
Even there, you have to be careful. Some lawyers specialize. I have a friend who specializes in what he calls "family law." He deals in adoptions, divorces, wills, name changes, etc. His knowledge of criminal law is limited. On occasion, he's asked by a friend or acquaintance to handle a criminal case, but he will only get them through the preliminary hearing. He won't take it to trial. More than once, he's asked me to explain a particular law to him and he'll even ask about case law. For many years, I monitored federal and state court activity, keeping our police department apprised of certain decisions that affected our operation. (As a matter of fact, before I retired, I was supplying that same information to almost 200 law enforcement organizations.) Anyway, certain divorce lawyers, corporate lawyers, etc. won't have a clue. Find a criminal lawyer (well, aren't they all?) or someone in the district attorney's office.
 
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