A recent court ruling in British Columbia has many people scratching their heads. A B.C. man was fined for distracted driving even though his phone was off.
On October 12th, 2018, Patrick Henry Grzelak was pulled over while driving in Surrey and fined for having earbuds in both ears.
Grzelak was fined for using his cellphone despite the fact that the phone’s battery was completely dead and it was safely stored away in a cubby hole.
The fine was disputed, but Justice Brent Adair ruled in favour of the officer this past Monday.
“Obviously, here the cell phone itself was sitting in the centre cubby hole, and was not in the defendants hands, or in his lap. But that is not the end of the matter. In my view, by plugging the earbud wire into the iPhone, the defendant had enlarged the device, such that it included not only the iPhone (proper) but also attached speaker or earbuds” stated Adair.
“Since the earbuds were part of the electronic device and since the ear buds were in the defendants ears, it necessarily follows that the defendant was holding the device (or part of the device) in a position in which it could be used, i.e. his ears.”
“Simply holding the device in a position in which it may be used constitutes the offence, even if it is temporarily inoperative” concluded Adair.
Fined For Distracted Driving
The fines for distracted driving in B.C. start at $368 and 4 penalty points. Owing this, a first offence is a minimum of $543. The costs go up even more with each subsequent offence. In addition, insurance costs may be affected.
Furthermore, a driver caught twice in a three year period will receive up to $2,000 in fines as well as points.
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