Wednesday, 30 May 2012

HAM/Amateur Radio Users May Use While Driving!

Being a lover of all things with buttons, dials and blinking lights, it's no wonder I enjoy photography - with all the various buttons on cameras and flashes...nor is it odd that I'd be fascinated with the hobby of amateur radio (more buttons, dials and lights).

However, due to the 2009 Ontario Law prohibiting the use of hand-held devices while driving, I, like many, all but stopped using my amateur radio (HAM radio) equipment.  However, I have recently learned of an exemption for HAM radio (and certain other) operators!  The text below was taken from the actual Ontario Highway Traffic Act and you'll see that we not only got one, but TWO extensions.  The first one allowed us to continue using our equipment until the end of 2012, the second one gave us a "further five years".

As my wife and I are moving to Barrie, Ontario over the next month, I took it upon myself to call their police department and ask what they suggest I do in the event I am pulled over for having my microphone in-hand while behind the wheel.  I should point out, the same suggestion was made by the folks at Radio World - and it does seem reasonable.  After all, not every officer will know about this exemption.

The advice was: Make sure you have a copy of your Amateur Radio License with you.  It is advised that you also have a copy of text supporting this exemption stored in your vehicle, so you can present it to the officer(s).

I should also mention, a phone call I made to the OPP a while back.  In that call, I was advised that yes, there was an exemption for us - but "the officer can still charge you under the distracted driver law".  So - it may well be something you'll have to fight in court one day as it seems this is a grey area - even though it is written in black and white...

I know I'm not the first one to post this information - many people found this out long before I did.  I just feel that not enough people know about it - the more, the merrier!

So, feel free to copy, print and store the text found below.  ...And IF stopped, just smile, be polite and show 'em your paperwork... Good luck!


Ontario Regulation 366/09 - Display Screens And Hand-Held Devices

Time-limited exemption for amateur radio operators

13. (1) Until January 1, 2013, drivers who hold a valid radio operator certificate

issued under the Radiocommunication Act (Canada) may drive a motor vehicle on a

highway while holding or using a two-way radio.

(2) This section is revoked on January 1, 2013.

Exemption for pressing buttons

14. (1) A person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while pressing a button

on a hand-held wireless communication device to make, answer or end a cell phone call

or to transmit or receive voice communication on a two-way radio if the device is placed

securely in or mounted to the motor vehicle so that it does not move while the vehicle is

in motion and the driver can see it at a quick glance and easily reach it without adjusting

his or her driving position.

(2) A person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while pressing a button on a

device that is worn on his or her head or hung over or placed inside his or her ear or is

attached to his or her clothing and is linked to a hand-held wireless communication

device to make, answer or end a cell phone call or to transmit or receive voice

communication on a two-way radio or a hand microphone or portable radio.

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Expiry of the 3-year exemption for Commercial Drivers and Amateur Radio Operators


Ministry of Transportation

Regulation Number(s):


Bill or Act:

Highway Traffic Act

Summary of Proposal:

The ministry is proposing the following changes to O.Reg 366/09 (Display Screens and Hand-Held Devices):

1) Extend the current two-way radio exemption for an additional five years for the same specified commercial, public transit, and public function drivers; and

2) Extend the current exemption for licenced amateur radio operators for an additional five years

We invite your comments on both proposed regulatory amendments.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Time to Move...

Thanks to Tarja and Mike for having us as their wedding photographers last weekend (March 31st). What a beautiful event - and the weather couldn't have played ball any better!  Photo's will be posted at some point soon!  The event was planned by Above All Event Management (

Craving more snow and lower temperatures, we are moving to Barrie!  OK, so we have other reasons actually, but it is true that we are pulling up stakes and moving our tent (and paraphernalia) to Barrie.

In preparation of this upcoming move, our phone number has changed and the web site 'about/contact' page has been changed to reflect it (note to self:  New business cards must be made - ASAP!).

Ok, gotta pack a box/two...