[SECC] House Bill 19

Gordon greyeagl at bellsouth.net
Mon Jan 12 11:08:13 EST 2009

(A former police officer, and safety instructor, speaks out)

I have been reading the various posts concerning the various aspects of GA House Bill #19 with great interest as well as a great amount for concern for my fellow amateurs.

The thrust of the bill, like it or not, is the promotion and assurance of a "safer roadway" for all to use.

It is a presumption on my part, though I believe it would be substantiated if researched, that 98% (or a figure very close to that) of all amateurs refrain from actually "Sending CW" while in motion.  Most of us simply find a convenient place and pull to the side of the road before commencing operations.  The bill in question has its thrust being "WHILE IN MOTION" though it may, or may not, state that effect in a parenthetical sense.  

The use of a cell phone while in motion requires (for the most part) using a device which is hand held to the ear.  The same would be involved in the use of a microphone held in close proximity to the lips.  It does detract from one's ability to concentrate on driving.  Many a public record exists to substantiate that conclusion.  Simply stop a police officer on the road and ask him/her how many accidents he/she has worked where a cell phone in use was a primary factor in causing the accident.

I will never forget the day when my wife called me on the phone and told me that another driver had (while using a cell phone) hit her from behind while both vehicles were in motion.  That collision totalled out my wife's new car and I thank God every day that she was not injured.  Does this have any cause or effect in my writing this?  I would be less than truthful if I said, "No." but it does have more to do with my experiences before I ever met and married my wife.

The use of a headset, you say?  What is the purpose of a set of headphones over the ears?  To block out interfering noise.  Being a safe driver of a vehicle while in motion requires being aware of what you, as the driver,  can see and hear with respect of what is going on around you.  A headset of any type (with or without a boom microphone attached) detracts from one's ability to be cognizant of his/her surroundings.   

I can remember my brother (K4BK) and I discussing making a mobile run of south Georgia counties during the Georgia QSO Party.  We never once considered mobile operations while in motion.  Our main thrust of the discussions was the ability to find and access a safe place to park in every county prior to  commencing operations.  Rick (NQ4I) commented that this would be the end of the GA QSO Party.  what an astonishingly stupid remark.  It well may be so for his particular part in the event but, for my part, I would rather have Rick abstain from participation rather than have him sending CW while in motion.  It is inherently unsafe!  Sorry, Rick, but that's how I feel about it.

If we sit back and complain about cell phone usage, and CBers using their equipment, while in motion, we cannot, in good faith, exempt ourselves from the same criticism.

Before we jump up and down and scream and holler about this bill and its effect on ham radio as a whole, let's read it very carefully and seek appropriate amendments to said bill to exempt the use of ham radio in emergency situations from the general scope of the legislation.

Now, I am rather certain that many will decry my statements and call me whatever but do think about this with a clear and objective mind before you start calling your representative demanding he/she vote against the bill as a whole and try to get him/her to offer amendments to work in our collective favor.

J. Gordon Rowe - K4OD
Lieutenant (Ret)  
Fort Valley P.D.
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