Police: amateur radios legal to operate while driving - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Police: amateur radios legal to operate while driving

BECKLEY, W. Va (WVVA)-- As WVVA previously reported, in West Virginia it is no longer legal to text and drive.

The new distracted driving law took effect July 1st.

But amateur radios, or ham radios, are still allowed behind the wheel according to the new law.

Although the operator must have a legal permit from the FCC, portable radios are not considered distracted driving by law.

Amateur radio operators we spoke with tell us they're safer than using a cell phone while driving because portable radios are push-to-talk.

Ed McKinney, a ham radio enthusiast and member of the Black Diamond Amateur Radio Club, said, "With a 2-way radio... you can just pick up the mic, not take your eyes off the road, and...key up and you can make contact."

Emergency officials like police and EMS are also allowed to use radios while driving.

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