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OUR VIEW: Confusion driving drivers to distraction

B.C.’s distracted driving laws need clarity

If you’re caught by police texting while driving, and you know you did it, seek redemption by paying your thumping $368 fine and consider it a jerk tax as some 77 people die each year in this province because of distracted driving.

But if you truly believe you’ve been wrongly accused, and you chose to fight it in court, hope appears to be on your side as, according to at least one lawyer, the cops and ICBC don’t seem to have a great handle on the letter of the law given conflicting messaging on their part.

READ ALSO: ‘Operation Hang Up’ reminds drivers to leave their devices alone while driving

READ ALSO: Police are sending incorrect messaging of law, lawyer says

During an enforcement campaign last week, a Surrey cop claimed that a driver having his or her phone loose on the passenger seat is considered distracted driving but lawyer Kyla Lee says that’s not the case and cites a B.C. Supreme Court judgment in 2019 to back up her claim.

Frankly, it’s confusing.

Also in 2019, a Surrey driver contested his ticket in court and a Judicial Justice decided that, even though the driver’s phone’s battery was dead, the wire connecting the driver’s earbuds to his phone amounted to the defendant “holding the device” and found him guilty, reasoning that “simply holding the device in a position in which it may be used constitutes the offence, even if it is temporarily inoperative.”

Our verdict? B.C.’s distracted driving laws really can drive one to distraction.


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