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

No new COVID cases in Kootenay-Boundary

Interior Health says as of July 30, there were no additional cases in the previous two weeks

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

RDKB to spend $5,000 to review 2020 freshet response

The province is also kicking in $5,000 for the review of flood protection rollout and communications

Future Olympian returns home to Boundary train in childhood pool

James Dergousoff put on a wetsuit and began swimming in an icy Christina Lake when his pool closed

FortisBC sees record-high summer electricity usage in Okanagan and Kootenays

‘As temperatures spike, so does the demand for electricity’ - FortisBC

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Feds fund $2M for habitat conservation in the Kootenays

Kootenay Connect program to protect habitat for species at risk in four areas in the region

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

Most Read