Michigan Distracted Driving Bill Introduced

Recently, we learned from a Michigan ARRL member that a Distracted Driving bill had been introduced into the Michigan House of Representatives. This bill did not exempt amateur radio operators from this proposed law, with a result that operation of mobile amateur radio equipment may become illegal. in Michigan.

I called on our State Government Liaison Ed Hude, WA8QJE to investigate and find a way to get this fixed before it becomes law. This is a very high priority item.

Today, I received the note below from WA8QJE:

Mr. Larry Camp, WB8R
Michigan Section Manager
American Radio Relay League
Coldwater, Michigan

Greetings Larry and the Michigan ARRL Membership,

I would like to inform you that I am in receipt of your email, expressing concerns from members of the Troy, Michigan area, regarding proposed State Legislation involving Distracted Driving and wireless device use. . The proposed legislation is now identified as House Bill 5867, and was introduced by Representative Martin Howrylak, District 041, of the Michigan House of Representatives. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

As of today, I am happy to report to you that I contacted Representative Howrylak’s Office to discuss this matter. In speaking with a Legislative Aide to Representative Howrylak, I found that she was very open to a dialogue regarding the proposed legislation. As a matter of fact she thanked me on behalf of Representative Howrylak for the efforts put forth by the amateur radio operators in the Troy area as well as State wide in assisting with severe weather watches and emergency communications.

In my discussion with her about this legislation, I discovered our definition of wireless communications and their definition of wireless communications which would not only effect amateur radio mobile communications, but that of wrecker vehicles, power company vehicles and more are not the same.

Tentatively we are looking forward to a meeting on Thursday, October 13th, time yet to be determined to address our concerns and to work together to amend this piece of legislation and clarify its original intent. I would like to request your assistance for this meeting and will contact you as soon as a time is confirmed.

I would like to ask of the membership that once this issue is resolved that consideration be given to support legislation as it relates to distracted driving by use of cellphones, smartphones, notebooks and iPads and similar devices. There has been needless loss of life and injuries as a result of the use of these devices and driving of motor vehicles by all age groups.

Regards,

Ed Hude, WA8QJE
State Government Liaison for Michigan
American Radio Relay League
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As you can see, Ed was able to quickly open a dialog and it appears that we are on the way towards a solution on a state wide level. We understand that there is an ordinance in the City of Troy that may be problematic as well and we are gathering information on that situation as well.

Stay tuned for more information as it develops.

73,

Larry, WB8R

Updated: October 6, 2016 — 2:00 am

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