You don’t have to be Holding to be Using: distracted driving

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has come out with a very harsh and expansive view of what constitutes “use” of a device in a car which leads to a distracted driving charge.

Daniel Standing, an editor at First Reference gives us an excellent summary. A driver “as operating his vehicle with his phone plugged in and either resting on his right lap or wedged between his right thigh and the seat, with the screen facing up. There was no evidence that the screen was lit”. The highest court in BC upheld the driver’s conviction under s.214 of BC’s Motor Vehicle Act, which states that a person “must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway”.

Mr. Standing’s article should be read in full, but the take-away for Ontario drivers is that one should be very cautious indeed about the placement of your cell phone in your car. Merely having it nearby may be enough, which is bad news for those of us who don’t use pick up or use our phones in the car, but do have it nearby, recharging.

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