Hams exempt from new Indiana handheld device law

Licensed amateur radio operators may continue to operate handheld radios in the Amateur Radio Service, despite an Indiana law that took effect July 1, 2020.

The new law, IC 9-21-8-59, prohibits a person from holding or using a “telecommunications device” while operating a moving motor vehicle.

Fortunately, however, a separate part of the Indiana code, IC 9-13-2-177.3, states that the definition of a “telecommunications device,” as it applies to the above referenced IC 9-21-8-59, does not include “amateur radio equipment that is being operated by a person licensed as an amateur radio operator by the Federal Communications Commission under 47 CFR Part 97.”

The provisions of IC 9-13-2-177.3, therefore, exempt the use of amateur radio equipment from the new handheld device ban (IC 9-21-8-59), as long as the equipment is operated by a licensed amateur radio operator.

It also, by the way, exempts citizens band equipment and other communications systems, if those systems are “installed in a commercial motor vehicle weighing more than ten thousand (10,000) pounds.”

Interestingly, IC 9-13-2-177.3 provides no explicit exemption for two-radios in police cars or other emergency vehicles that are not commercial motor vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

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