OOIDA to Ontario MTO: 'Support CB exemption'

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | 5/26/2017

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a clear message about the usefulness of CB radios to Ontario regulators who are considering whether or not to ban the use of the devices by truckers in the province.

CB radios improve highway safety, not jeopardize it.

“Two-way radios provide numerous benefits to truckers without compromising their safety or the safety of the traveling public,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer wrote in the comments to MTO. “While new technologies might reduce the need for a two-way radio, they are by no means obsolete. Fundamentally, for many truckers they are a critical safety tool that has numerous real-world applications.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation is asking truckers to weigh in on whether or not to continue an exemption for CB radios to the province’s distracted driving law.

A five-year exemption for CBs is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2018. The Ministry of Transportation is asking for comments on whether or not to extend the exemption for an additional seven years; to make the exemption permanent; or to allow the exemption to expire, making it illegal for all but law enforcement to use hand-held radio devices. The deadline for filing comments is June 15.

According to collision data provided by MTO, approximately 17 percent of large truck drivers involved in fatal and injury collisions were coded as “inattentive” between 2010 and 2014. The Ministry says that inattentive driving can include a variety of activities that may divert a driver’s attention from the road, such as eating, grooming, changing radio stations, and talking on a phone or a two-way radio. Roughly the same percentage of light-duty vehicles in fatal or injury crashes were coded as inattentive during the same time period.

A spokesman for the MTO has previously told Land Line that the initial exemption was granted on Jan. 1, 2013.

OOIDA’s comments point out that two-way radios allow truckers to communicate in advance about approaching weather events and road conditions, as well as identify and locate available truck parking.

“There is no existing hands-free technology that we are aware of that would eliminate or replace the usefulness of a two-way radio,” Spencer wrote.

Comments on the proposal may be filed by email here.

Copyright © OOIDA