A Message from your ARRL State Government Liaison, Ingrid Klose, KD4F:
In the past two weeks you may have heard news about a Bill being introduced into the Tennessee House (HB0044) which bans the use of handheld devices while driving. Upon investigation, I found the language in the actual draft Bill is for handheld “telephones.” As the word “telephones” is not defined in the section definitions, common usage is assumed. The summary states “devices,” but the actual Bill does not.
A Middle Tennessee Communications group raised the question of whether this will affect our ability to use radios. I did not see that it would, considering the specificity of the wording, but I called ARRL Headquarters and spoke to Dan Henderson in the legal section. While he is admittedly not a lawyer, he, too agrees that raising that flag might cause more harm than good and we need not do anything to oppose the Bill at this time.
I will keep daily watch on the Bill and if the wording changes to impact amateur radio users, I will certainly let you know. In the meantime, consensus is to leave this alone.