Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Simply having your cell phone nearby while driving is no longer grounds for a police officer to issue a ticket, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

In a March 1 decision, posted online last week, Justice Murray Blok ruled in favour of Philip Gary Leone Partridge, who had appealed an August 2018 conviction of using an electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

An officer had signalled for Partridge to pull over after seeing him looking downwards while driving. The officer saw a cell phone wedged between the folds of the passenger seat, with the screen facing the man.

But, Blok said in his decision, since he never saw the man touch his phone in any way, he could not be found guilty of using it.

READ MORE: Vancouver driver ticketed twice within 6 minutes for same offence

READ MORE: #LeaveYourPhoneAlone: Driver caught using device twice within 7 minutes

“The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough to secure a conviction, leaving aside a situation where, for example, the screen is illuminated and so the driver may then be utilizing the cell phone in some fashion,” Blok said. Both Crown counsel and defence agreed, and the man was acquitted.

READ MORE: Texting while walking increases risk of getting hit by car, UBC study says

According to ICBC, police have issued more than 300,000 tickets for distracted driving since 2010.

The fine for using a device while driving is $369, as well as four insurance penalty points. Offenders who are caught twice within three years can be fined up to $2,000.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Change in service: Port Hardy is switching from bi-weekly garbage pick up to weekly schedule

The cost for the weekly garbage pick up service is an additional $30.12 annually.

Cancelling bus service between Campbell River and Port Hardy will compromise health access, region warns

Mount Waddington Health Network says transportation primary factor for rural health access

Badinotti makes cash donations to North Island food banks

‘it’s fantastic that they are supporting community organizations like this’

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

NDP pushing for 10 days of paid sick days for all working Canadians

NDP has made the issue a requirement for their support of the Liberal government

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read