ARRL Wants Exclusion from California Law

ARRL is recommending that Amateur Radio be specifically excluded from a California statute prohibiting the use of 'wireless communication devices' while driving 

ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director Marty Woll, N6VI, is taking point on the effort to revise the statute, known by its legislative bill number AB 1785. It was signed into law last September, and it took effect on 1st January 2017, amending §23123.5 of the state’s Vehicle Code.

ARRL has received a huge volume of inquiries and complaints about this statute in particular, since its enactment, I would urge that you present this letter at any meetings you have with California State legislators on this topic, thus to bring the issues contained herein to their attention.
— ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, wrote in a letter to Woll to provide guidance in amending the California statute.

Imlay pointed out that that the prior statute excluded Amateur Radio by definition. The new law, which completely replaced the earlier statute, never mentions Amateur Radio, but instead contains an open-ended definition of an “electronic wireless communications device,” the operation of which while driving is prohibited. According to the statute, this “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.”

“Because of the ‘not limited to’ language, such a device is whatever a law enforcement officer thinks might be included, and an Amateur Radio operator is not at all protected,” Imlay wrote. Such a broad definition could stymie “even the most diligent law enforcement officers,” who might interpret the new Vehicle Code language “more broadly than was intended.”

Full ARRL Story -

UK exemption of two-way radio, such as Amateur Radio, is clearly given in 2 (4) -