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Repeal California AB 1785/CVC-23123

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  • Repeal California AB 1785/CVC-23123

    Calif AB 1785 was passed in 2016 and went into effect 1/1/2017 as California Vehicle Code 23123.
    Because the letter of the law is ambiguous, as are its interpretation, the call-to-action is to repeal or replace CVC-23123 considering the points presented.
    • Impact: By varied interpretations and resulting enforcement efforts it could effectively prohibit the use of Amateur Radio Service, Citizens Band, Family Radio Service, commercial/industrial, and other two-way radios while driving.
    • Implementation: Given the different interpretations by law enforcement officers and departments, it may or may not enforceable, nor be enforced consistently. One such troubling interpretation per a CHP source:
    "The staid and unmoving interpretation ... is that unless the equipment is vehicle OEM, or it is an official vehicle operating in a form of governmental business with official markings, the operation of 2-way radio equipment is prohibited in a moving vehicle unless it conforms to the "dash mounted, one-swipe" form-factor prescribed in the law. No exceptions." (This would include public utility vehicles, school buses, taxi cabs, tow trucks, public utility vehicles, and many more common examples.)
    Talking points:
    • Given/accepted: Safe operation of the vehicle is the most important responsibility of a driver
    • Given/accepted: Immersive/interactive visual and typing response to 'devices' can be a significant distraction to motor vehicle operation
    • Historically: Handling/operation of a push-to-talk handheld microphone does not equate to the visual and tactile distraction of "smart devices"
    • The law claims that swiping/tapping are one of the few permissible equipment activities in a motor vehicle (despite and ignoring the visual interaction.)
    • The law and interpretations assume that only OEM-equipment may not be sufficiently distracting to pose a hazard.
    • Drivers have many other non-swipe / tap controls that are can be distracting - lighting, wipers, A/C, in dash car radios, GPS/nav, etc.
    • Drivers have been otherwise free to install and access many none 'OEM' items, many of which block field of vision, all of which may challenge "both hands on the wheel" and “eyes on the road”
    • Past/current and common practice: Used without evidence of being a hazard for over 5 decades is the unintended victim of this law, the two-way radio and its operator.
    • Two-way radio is used by the following entities, including (but not limited to) public safety personnel (on or off duty in marked or unmarked vehicles), public services – bus, trash, etc., commercial entities, enthusiasts (Citizens Band, Family Radio, GMRS, Amateur Radio)
    • During these 5 decades, the hand-held two-way radio microphone, typically tethered to a fixed device, has not shown to be a visual distraction – and this device can be and often is yielded / surrendered easily in time of driving need
    • Properly mounted after-market communications devices can be no more or less distracting that any OEM device or mounted touch/swipe consumer device
    • California is being uniquely and excessively severe (and ignorant or absent other considerations) in its legislation and regulations distorting the spirit and letter of the law
    • The regulation assumes if not suggests some/all are less capable than Law Enforcement Officers in operation of technical equipment. Many of us have clear non-distracted driving records coincident with radio/microphone operation over time vs the service time of most LEOs
    • 'Profiling' of those with ham radio license plates as they could suggest a the driver may be operating 'illegally.'
    • Inefficient thus carbon-contributing commercial fleet operations due to lack of communications
    • California enjoys much revenue from out-of-state/-country travelers who may be negatively impacted, making CA a less-friendly place to visit
    • Loss of 9-1-1/emergency reporting as citizens may fear being in violation of this regulation
    • Lawsuits for negligence rendered upon the State for inhibiting timely and necessary emergency reporting

    • Repeal or modify to complete clarity the specific operations / activities / devices forbidden by law vs open-ended and over-reaching LEO interpretation of the regulation
    • Respect the services that the simple two-way radio has provided citizens and business for over 50 years.
    • Acknowledge existing 2-way radio operations that are enjoyed and essential to citizen and business activity with no evidence to being a hazard.
    • Ensure consistency in the detection and enforcement advice to all agencies and LEOs, to the extent of recognition of basic communications devices that are less complex than the devices employed in their jobs.
    • Laws/regulations must be universally and commonly understandable by the public, LEO, lawyers and judges.
    • Any such laws should make sense and address only known issues. There are no known cases that “distracted driving” laws needing or having been applied to basic two-way radio operation.
    • Repeal or re-write this regulation, keeping in mind of course the goal of reducing distracted driving and increasing safety for both the public and LEO, while NOT restricting use of common two-way radios.

    • This law could be a negative model for other states, or it could be a good one. Informed and considerate, we can do better, and expect it.

    Sign the petition at:
    If you don't like the way I drive, stay out of the bushes!

  • #2
    Signed. 46 needed to make 1000. Thanks for looking out, Russ.
    God forgives, rocks don't
    -sons of thunder


    • #3
      The FCC notified the states years ago that states can not regulate two way radios. that's the FCC's job. I forgot this is California....
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