Please Concentrate On Driving!!

An amendment to the Road Traffic Act has taken effect on November 1, 1999 banning the use of hand held communication equipment (including amateur radio hand held transceivers) while driving. Also the Act says "should not look at car navigation systems (including "display" of amateur radio equipment) for a long period of time."

(1) Prohibition of the use of the portable telephone while driving

One of the new rules the driver must observe is that "he/she must not use the radio communication equipment e.g. portable telephone while driving. This "radio communication equipment" means the equipment which cannot transmit or receive a message without holding a part or a whole of the equipment in hand. This includes handy type transceiver which is held in hand when transmitting or receiving a message. On the other hand, this rule is not applied to the use of the hands free equipment for the amateur radio operation and the so-called mounted type transceiver for the mobile vehicle which is fixed to the car.

(2) Prohibition of observation of the picture display equipment

The next rule the driver must keep is that "he/she must not watch the picture on the picture display equipment e.g. car navigation system." This rule prohibits continued observation of pictures of the picture display equipment such as car navigation system and car television. It is permissible to use the car navigation system in the usual way, but it is prohibited to see the picture display equipment continuously while the car is running in order to operate the equipment for detection of a restaurant or a gas station or to input information for route leading to the destination. "The picture display equipment" in the above paragraph includes not only the car navigation system or the color television, but the liquid crystal display equipment frequently used for recent radio equipment which provide information such as radio frequency, SWR, ALT and RS. Therefore, while the car is running, it is against the rule to see the picture of the display equipment continuously to change frequency or to tune the antenna, or to see the picture of the display equipment continuously to send or receive data by packet communication or to read information in letters of the portable telephone. For the person who violated the above rule and as a result incurred the traffic risk on the road, the penal regulation (penal servitude of 3 months or less, or a fine of 50,000 yen or less) will be applied.

(3) For safe driving

Even before enforcement of the above regulations, the Road Traffic Law, Article 70 "Obligation for Safe Driving" has been applied as a penal rule to the driver who incurred the traffic accident due to forward inattention while the car is running operating the portable telephone or the radio equipment, or being engrossed in watching television. The purpose of the revision of the rules of this time is to clarify by law the responsibility of the driver to cope with the rapid increase of traffic accidents due to the remarkable popularization of the car navigation system.

It is our earnest request that every radio amateur will enjoy mobile ham in consideration of safe driving by using hands free equipment or a mounted type transceiver for the mobile vehicle while driving.