The following as an excerpt from the April RAC Report. For those of you who are RAC Members it is available on the RAC Website in the members section.
As the Director for North East Ontario has been keeping this blog updated on his progress with the Driving While Distracted issue in Ontario I am posting part of his report here as its an update on what we have been previously talking about…
Director’s Report for Ontario North/East
Bill Unger, VE3XT – RAC Director, Ontario North/East Region (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Distracted Driving Update
After January 2013, Amateurs in Ontario will not be allowed to operate while mobile unless they have a hands free set up. Ontario Amateurs want to know about RAC’s efforts to obtain a permanent exemption for Amateurs from Bill 118, the Distracted Driving Law.
We need to get Amateur Radio on the Legislators’ and Bureaucrats’ radar. To date, we have not made a case as to why we should be allowed to have this exemption. They are not aware of all the public service we do across Ontario and our contribution of countless hours to ensure that various events are held successfully and, most importantly, safely. In an event of an emergency, we are ready to provide backup communications. No one likes to think of tragedies but I am sure Japan is glad to have a large Amateur population that is probably taking some of the strain off a very busy communications infrastructure.
I have asked several groups and organizations here in Thunder Bay, Ontario that are assisted in communications by the Lakehead Amateur Radio Club to write letters of support. I realize it’s difficult to ask people for favours, but when asked to write a letter of support the comments I receive are amazing. Right after I asked for a letter, the organizer for a cross-country ski race said “we couldn’t do it without the Lakehead ARC”. Our liaison person at our hospital was also pleased to send a letter of support. In his email he stated, “I am in total support of your organization and willingness to support us in times of difficulty.”
We need to be our own advocates and, at present, as providers of communications for various events in our communities we simply do not do it enough. We need to start now if we want to obtain that exemption.
As mentioned earlier I have several letters from local groups, but we need them from all regions of Ontario. If you are in Ontario and your club assists an organization to stage an event would you please consider contacting them and asking for support? When we get endorsements from across the province we will be prepared to press our case to allow Amateurs to obtain a permanent exemption. If you obtain a letter please send me a copy and I will forward it with all the other letters of support that are received. They will be sent to Kathleen Wynn, Minister of Transportation.
As the Director for North East Ontario I cannot do this alone. I need your assistance from across the province. Will you help?
There you have it folks…. For those of you with mobiles in Ontario …. RAC is working on your behalf….
Thanks for the update Bill….