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Hold the phone! Or not!

December 5, 2019

BC court finds that holding a phone in a position in which it may be used is distracted driving 

The strictness of British Columbia’s distracted driving laws was confirmed in R. v. Ahmed, where a judicial justice found that the accused had violated the Motor Vehicle Act by holding a cellular phone while operating a vehicle. Unlike in some provinces, the BC prohibition deems holding the device in a manner in which it can be used to be using the device:

[33]        “Use” under Section 214.1, Part 3.1 of the MVA “in relation to an electronic device means one or more of the following actions:

(a) Holding the device in a position in which it may be used;

(b) Operating one or more of the device’s functions;

(c) Communicating orally by means of the device with another person or another device; and

(d) Taking another action that is set out in the Regulations by means of, with or in relation to an electronic device.”

The police officer observed the accused holding the phone near the centre of the steering wheel while looking up and down at it. This was uncontradicted and thus a conviction was entered. 

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