What's the difference between a radio and a phone

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:09
ThreadID: 85669 Views:5731 Replies:11 FollowUps:8
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It is illegal to talk on a phone while driving. What's the difference to using a radio and a phone. Most of us use a radio to comunicate when on our trips. Does anyone know if there are any laws governing the use of a radio while driving. I have not been able to find anything specific.

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Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:28

Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:28
Hi Josh,

See thread # 75507. I got pulled over and warned about talking on a UHF. I dont know where I stand on this one but still do it .

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 451456

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 21:05

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 21:05
Wilko! Its probably another example of police in this state of not knowing the laws!! I have proved them wrong in the past!! I think you will find it is ok if used with care in NSW. Ask them next time what the law is exactly.. I bet they cant tell you.. Michael
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Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:33

Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:33
sort of a good point ......... my guess is you dont have to answer it as soon as you hear it "ring" so that in it's self is safer, you are not "timed" for calls so you can delay a reply until it is safe to do so and it also is an integral part of doing "business" for most truck drivers, courier drivers and general transport operators incluiding taxis so to introduce "laws" to in effect control it would be not really be effective as it is not "deemed" to be a problem as far as i know, unlike mobile phones that have been proven to be the cause of many accidents and possibly lives have been lost due to there useage whilst driving .... and you NEVER see someone trying to read a text message on there radio do ya ???
I guess you could say that a "manual" gearbox could be a "distraction compaired to an automatic gearbox.....
AnswerID: 451458

Follow Up By: V64Runner - Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:51

Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:51
A member of my family is a Police Officer and he and I had this discussion some time ago. It is perfectly legal in WA to use a UHF radio and the road traffic ordinance laws, but illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving. Police cars are all fitted with two way radios and are used frequently in the course of day to day operations, and is of course a necessity. The use of mobile phones is a distraction and has been the cause of many traffic accidents - some fatal. The UHF radio is used for very short periods as in finding and address , the office of what ever etc etc, where a mobile phone, the user can be on there for ten minutes or more. Concentration goes out the window and the next thing there is a an accident. Despite the fines being issued very day to people on mobile phones, the accident rate is in direct proportion to the number of mobile phones being used at the time of the prang, very few, if any, UHF radios have been the cause of an accident, and in some cases are useful in notifying other road users on the same frequency of traffic hazards that are ahead
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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 15:27

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 15:27
V64Runner, spot on there, I wonder if it is an offense in other States to talk on UHF radios as we use ours no matter where we are in the country.



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Reply By: Wilgadene - Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:38

Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:38
Josh, this is the Qld legislation

300 Use of mobile phones
(1) The driver of a vehicle (except an emergency vehicle or police
vehicle) must not use a mobile phone that the driver is holding
in the driver’s hand while the vehicle is moving, or is
stationary but not parked.
Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.
(2) In this section—
mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other
two-way radio.
use, in relation to a mobile phone, includes any of the
(a) holding the phone to, or near, the ear, whether or not
engaged in a phone call;
(b) writing, sending or reading a text message on the phone;
(c) turning the phone on or off;
(d) operating any other function of the phone
AnswerID: 451459

Reply By: Farquo - Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:58

Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 21:58
The Victorian regulation says the same as the Qld legislation in a more verbose way. The following defines what is included as a mobile phone:
"mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two way radio"

Radios are fine in Vic.
AnswerID: 451467

Follow Up By: OREJAP - Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 22:25

Saturday, Apr 16, 2011 at 22:25
Yep you are correct. When the "new" legislation was proclaimed to prohibit the use of mobile phones other communication devices were omitted/forgotten or neglected. It was an offence to use a communication device but as i mentioned that wording was changed to "mobile/hand held phone" What we all must be aware of is the offence of Careless driving. So if you are "deemed" to be driving carelessly then you have committed an offence. It is purely up to the Police person who decides whether you are careless or not. The rule being that you were driving carelessly.
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 07:03

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 07:03
Hi Josh,
In my opinion mobile phones consume far more attention than do fixed UHF radios. They require concentration to engage a call and the same to disengage a call.
As for texting, well I think that right there is an accident happening in slow motion. The number of people I see, and mainly women but also men, talking or texting on their mobiles while driving beggars belief. Especially since it is clearly illegal not to mention the fact that it is detrimental to ones driving ability as they not only take your mind off driving but also your eyes off the road.

In my opinion there is a huge difference. I have had to answer my phone while driving, as many of us have, in order to get the call but have pulled off immediately. Anyone can see for themselves just how distracting they are by trying out their mobile on a more quiet stretch of road and then compare that with the UHF.

Admittedly they have 2 different functions but I have found the UHF to be less distracting. Most of the time people are just listening to the UHF to get the benifit they provide.

I have a mobile for emergencies while on the road these days (no longer in business) but otherwise I would not have one. Most of the time they are a bl@@dy nuisance.

Good subject Josh and thanks for raising it. I bet we have all thought about this from time to time. I have.

Cheers, Bruce.
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Reply By: Tonyfish#58 - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 07:36

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 07:36
I can see why it is so, having driven many years with CB Radios.

A CB Radio is much like a car radio/stereo as far as distraction and at times are responsible for people having an accident, mostly newer drivers.

Mobile phones are, for what ever reason, a bigger distraction - If you were to only answer a call I think they are much like a CB, but people start calling up others and texting, then they are a big distraction.

I have seen, as I suppose so have many others people start swerving, slowing down without any apparent reason until you see the phone near the ear. Then they hold up the traffic looking for a pull over spot :-)

With use of a CB you do not see this effect driving thus. IMHO

Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 451491

Follow Up By: Rockape - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 08:18

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 08:18
you seem to have the same driver in front of you as I do, he must get around LOL.

You forgot that when the light turns green many of them just sit there in their own little world, having a great conversation.

Women can also drive, talk on the phone and have a look in the mirror at their make-up, definitely more skilled than us poor males.

I have 2 vhf radios going all the time while driving+ a rock box and sometimes a passenger who is talking as well, that can become a distraction as I will be talking on one channel while trying to listen to calls going on the other one, sometimes I am carrying out conversations on both radios at the same time, then I normally give up and stop.

Interestingly, the young lady (that is said tongue in cheek) can do this and very seldom becomes rattled or misses calls.

While driving a machine which 2 guys rely on me for their well being, I have 2 radios going and a phone all while watching cameras and operating. In this case I ignore the phone or second radio call until I have stopped and told the guys what I am doing.

Have a safe one and may all your fish be legal.
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 08:22

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 08:22
The young lady,
I should have added "who I work with"
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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Apr 18, 2011 at 05:34

Monday, Apr 18, 2011 at 05:34
Rockape - Was the car a result of all this CB Chatter :-) Or did the young lady answer one phone call to many :-)

Cheers Tony
FollowupID: 724218

Reply By: Maya M - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 08:53

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 08:53
Each states or territory road rules are shaped around section 300 Australian Road Rules, here is the link


300(4) - definition of mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two-way radio.

The Northern Territory Traffic Regulations reflect the ARR, most states should do the same - they were designed and adopted by each respective Minister for consistency for road rules across Australia.

In a nutshell talking on your CB is not an offence.


AnswerID: 451502

Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 09:04

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 09:04
Its been a while since I have looked it up but isn't talking on a radio, CB included while driving illegal. I thought so.

If I am correct then we are all guilty of breaking the law.

Who has actually checked whether its legal to talk on ANY radio? Leave CB out of it for the moment.

If then the answer is yes, then its also illegal to talk on CB while driving.

That said as one poster put it previously in this thread, its a bit different chatting with CB and sending a text message on a phone. As well mobile phone calls usually demand more concentration. Especially if work related. Hence the loss of attention to the road.

That appears to be why the authorities concentrate on the mobile phone. I have been warned about using a ham radio in the past. I only got away with it because I use a lightweight headset and no mobile phone. (I still don't use the mobile phone) Instead I was chatting away to a mate in the US on HF (28Mhz wb2ffy - ex aussie) and he thought I was using a mobile phone on my lap. He actually was interested in radio when I said the USA so I demonstrated it to him. He let me off with a warning. Should have made a cuppa.

AnswerID: 451505

Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 09:22

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 09:22
It seems that in the ACT it does not specifically say that it is illegal to use a two radio while driving. But it does state this from here:
ACT Road Rules (see page 25):

It is dangerous and irresponsible to drive with one hand off the steering while operating a communication radio, or CB. The correct method of using these devices is to pull off the road and stop.

They could get you with this one as not dirving safely or something like that.

AnswerID: 451508

Reply By: Member - Len M(lizard) - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 09:39

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 09:39
Hi Josh,
We all know it is illegal to talk on a phone while driving. Believe me there are no exceptions. We own a community nursing service, My wife is a registered nurse the director and nurse manager of the business. (This event happened several years ago) At the time the vehicle was set up with the hands free kit or what ever it was called. As nurse manager my wife often received calls from staff whom arrived at a clients home to find the unexpected or to discuss a clients immediate and/or ongoing care needs, sometimes urgent sometimes not. While driving my wife received a call of an urgent nature and during responding to the call with the use of the hands free equipment, the equipment failed. Due to the nature of the call my wife called the staff member back without the attached equipment, yes highly illegal. Flashing lights, sirens and a ticket. I believe phones while driving are in the top two causes of accidents and as such users should be punished accordingly. Rules are rules but sometimes a few hundred dollars to save a life is worth it. I believe the police office could have checked the validity of my wife's explanation?. There was no available parking, the vehicle was registered to .........nursing service etc. etc.
AnswerID: 451511

Reply By: Zebra400 - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 10:35

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 10:35
I think we are mixing a couple of things here.

To use a mobile phone is illegal. The police do not have to prove careless driving.

Using a CB radio is not in itself illegal. However, if by using it, the police deem that you were acting carelessly on the road, then the act of carelessness is still an offence.

AnswerID: 451520

Follow Up By: V64Runner - Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 18:52

Sunday, Apr 17, 2011 at 18:52
Generally speaking, as a rule if I have a passenger in my vehicle and the mobile rings, I get them to answer it and tell them I am driving and will call them back if its not urgent at the next available opportunity. That way Mr Plod can take a hike. Same goes with the UHF in the 4x4 unless I`m in the bush with a convoy one is hardly likely to find a cop in his two wheel drive. My Mic is positioned on the dash in such a way that I can reach the PTT button with my thumb and make the call quick smart, and straight to the point, and then listen in.
FollowupID: 724183

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