Last month, Alberta passed sweeping new distracted driving rules that have resulted in confusion over the legislation as it addresses use of CB radios by commercial drivers. AMTA asked the province for clarification, and has now received a response.
The point of confusion is this. Alberta’s distracted driving law restricts the use of hand-held CB radios, except for drivers who are required to maintain radio contact for ‘commercial purposes,’ like when escorting an overdimensional vehicle, for contacting that driver’s employer as well as for drivers involved in search, rescue or emergency management situations. Just what this really means has caused great confusion among Alberta’s trucking industry.
AMTA was concerned that this point could be interpreted to mean that the ban for ‘recreation use’ of CBs covers only non-commercial drivers or off-duty truck drivers. The Association recently asked for and received this statement of clarification from the province.
According to Alberta Transportation’s Jeanette Espie, Executive Director, Office of Traffic Safety: “this legislation is not intended to interfere with well-established commercial operations or search and rescue efforts. So where this type of communication is required to communicate with the driver’s employer or when participating in some type of emergency management situation, use of hand-held CB radios will be allowed.”
“This law is not about taking away tools for traffic safety. The use of hand-held CB radios to communicate extreme weather conditions or a hazard on the roadway, such as a collision, could fall under the “emergency” scenario category,” says Ms. Espie.
“Alberta Transportation recognizes that commercial drivers are professionals and anticipate that they will make good safety decisions when choosing to use public radio systems. As with all laws, enforcement officers ultimately have the responsibility to evaluate specific situations to determine if citizens are complying with the law.”
Alberta’s new law is expected to come into effect by mid-2011.
For information about Alberta’s comprehensive distracted driving legislation please visit