It’s not illegal to use a UHF or CB radio while driving

You can’t physically hold and use your mobile phone while driving and because the new cameras being used to detect mobile phone use while driving (in NSW for now only but it won’t be long until they’re rolled out across the country) can’t yet distinguish between a phone and something else you’re holding, we’ve heard of 4×4 owners being pinged for UHF and CB radio use while driving. And people are becoming concerned.

They needn’t be, the laws around this stuff are pretty clear cut and that is that you can use a UHF or CB radio while driving… as long as you’re still considered to be in proper control of your vehicle. That means, if a police officer pulls you over for erratic driving and spotted you using your UHF or CB radio and decides that is the culprit then you can be fined for not being in proper control of a motor vehicle. But, the act of using the UHF or CB radio itself isn’t a bookable offence.

Indeed, a whip around the States and Territories shows that all except for the Northern Territory state: “mobile phone does not include a CB radio or any other two-way radio”.  The NT regulations make no reference to a CB radio or UHF. The below lists either links to legislation or police information pages explaining the laws and the fines:

NSW: http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/…/div1/rule.300

QLD: https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/road-safety/mobile-phones

VIC: https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/driver-safety/mobile-phones-and-driving

SA: The Law  and   Mobile Phone Use Guidelines

ACT: https://police.act.gov.au/road-safety/safe-driving/driver-distraction

WA: https://www.rsc.wa.gov.au/Rules-Penalties/Browse/Mobile-Phones

TAS: https://www.police.tas.gov.au/what-we-do/traffic-policing/traffic-tuesday/21-mobile-phones/

NT: https://roadsafety.nt.gov.au/campaigns/2019-nt-road-rule-changes/use-of-mobile-phones

One rule for them… yes, actually there is

Stroll around on Facebook and you’ll often come across photos of police officers using their mobile phones while driving with the caption: one rule for them… and that’s right, there is one rule for emergency services workers and the rest of us when it comes to using a mobile phone while driving. Here’s what the rules say: “Under the Australian Road Rules Sec 300 1 (b), the driver of an emergency or police vehicle is permitted to use a mobile phone while driving. Mobile phones are another form of communication police use for operational purposes”. And here’s a link to the South Australian legislation.

So what CB Channels can I use?

UHF CHANNEL GUIDE

Channels 1 to 8 (and 31 to 38) are for repeaters. (these are sometimes called DUPLEX use) Each repeater needs a pair of channels to work.

When on channel 1 repeater, channel 31 is also used up, 2 uses 32 – and 3 uses 33 – etc. Avoid channels 31 to 38 for general use. If you are within range of a repeater, your voice could exceed 10,000sq km coverage and that repeater, could be made unusable – without your knowledge.

For general travelling use, we suggest the Repeater (REP) or Duplex (DUP) function be programmed permanently ‘ON’ at all times on channels 1 to 8. Please avoid transmitting on all the above channels – unless you choose to access a repeater.

Calling channel 11 (allocated in law) This channel is used to call another user who may be listening on the call channel (such as a friend). After contact you must move to another channel. Most country operators sit on other general use channels. Scanning all channels is more useful to find these other operators.

Channels 22 & 23 are signalling and telemetry channels only. No voice is allowed. (allocated in law)

Channel 40 is used by highway vehicles and trucks. (firmly established by tradition)

Channel 18 is used by caravans and campers. (by courteous agreement)

Channel 10 is for 4WDrivers which is becoming more popular and is recommended officially in national parks. (by courteous agreement)

Channel 5 is for emergency repeaters (allocated in law) (For locations please ask for a repeater list)

For other regions, scanning all channels is a far more effective way of locating other UHF users in an emergency.

General use channels are therefore 9 12 17 19 to 21 24 to 30 and 39.

Please note that major cities often have one channel that attracts rude and inconsiderate people but please do not judge your new UHF radio by these people.

Channels 5 and 35 are reserved for emergency use only. Strict Penalties for misuse apply.

This is information has been kindly supplied by ELECTRIC BUG. If you have any further queries about this information please contact ELECTRIC BUG www.electricbug.com.au.

For a printable table please click here