Trucking groups say Ontario’s transportation minister did the right thing by extending an exemption for CB radios under the province’s distracted-driving laws. The province had hoped to phase out CB use within three years of banning the use of hand-held electronic devices in 2009, but the goal clashes with how truckers do their jobs.
Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli announced earlier this month that CB use will be exempt from the law for five more years – and he says that’s enough time for a viable hands-free alternative to be developed.
Without the change, a driver using a hand-held CB would have been subject to a fine under the law starting Jan. 1, 2013.
“By extending the exemption period an additional five years (to January 1, 2018), we believe this may be sufficient time for a commercially viable market to develop for hands-free alternatives to two-way radio technology while balancing the growing concerns and risks associated with distracted driving,” Ministry of Transportation spokesman Bob Nichols said.
Input from truckers and associations helped shape the outcome. The province conducted a comment period earlier this year and received input from truckers and associations, including the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada and the Ontario Trucking Association.
While OOIDA supports the five-year extension, the Association says the concern about CB use is unnecessary.
“CBs have been safely used by CMV drivers for decades, in many cases to enhance highway safety,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said. “So far as OOIDA is aware, there have not been any studies conducted specifically to CB usage that would suggest otherwise.”
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