A Kelowna man learned the hard way that whether it’s being used or not, mobile phones are off limits while driving. (IMAGE CREDIT: STOCK IMAGE)

‘It’s not on’ distracted driver defence fails to sway B.C. judge

Man ticketed for using an electronic device while driving, despite it not being in use.

A Kelowna man learned the hard way that whether it’s being used or not, mobile phones are off limits while driving.

Samuel Austin Bainbridge was pulled over on Enterprise Way in September 2016 and fined $368 for using an electronic device.

What he explained at the time, and again last month while appealing the fine, was he wasn’t actually using the phone when he was pulled over.

“I wasn’t communicating with anyone,” said Bainbridge, at the time of the offence. “Force of habit to have phone in my hands.”

According to evidence presented, he may have been telling the truth. The officers said Bainbridge did not have the phone up to his ear, his lips weren’t moving and there was no light emanating from the screen. He was not operating any of the phone’s functions such as a phone call, texting, GPS, charging the phone or listening to music through the phone.

Bainbridge tried to argue that the officers should have to prove that the phone was in use to apply the fine, but Justice Justice Brian Burgess rejected that defence.

Burgess, in his decision, highlighted that the Motor Vehicle Act states: A person must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway. Section 214.1 of that law provides some definition on what use is, and it includes simply holding the device in a position in which it may be used.

READ MORE: KELOWNA COPS CRACK DOWN ON CELL PHONE USING DRIVERS

“Bainbridge, by holding the phone in his right hand while driving was holding the phone in a position in which it may be used,” Burgess wrote.

“Based on the evidence before me Crown has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and I find Mr. Bainbridge guilty of this offence … The fine will be the ticketed amount payable by April 30.”

ICBC reports that distracted driving kills 78 people a year. In an effort to curb it, ICBC’s Driver Risk Premium program was put into effect March 1.

VIDEO: CHECK OUT THIS DISTRACTED DRIVING SIMULATOR

As previously announced, drivers with two convictions for the use of electronic devices while driving over a three year period will now face added and higher premiums. They could pay as much as $2,000 in penalties – an increase of $740 over the previous penalties –in addition to their regular vehicle insurance premium.

Two pilot projects exploring how technology can help combat distracted driving in our province are also underway, as announced in the fall. ICBC is working with 139 volunteer drivers from across the province on a three-month pilot. Drivers will share feedback about their experiences with a small telematics device installed in their vehicle which blocks the use of their handheld phone when the participant is driving.

Starting this month, police will also begin to test new distracted driving scopes with further abilities to capture dangerous driving behaviours. Police will be testing the units for usability and effectiveness in all weather and traffic conditions.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaNewsKat
kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oak Bay youth give teens a voice, explore homelessness, talk to seniors for podcasts

Teens pleased as teacher adds podcast creation to English 12 class

Tonight: Committee of the Whole meeting

Beach barbeques, dog restrictions in parks, BC Energy Step Code

Victoria man arrested for sexual assault on BC Transit bus

Incident took place downtown, in broad daylight in front of fellow passengers

Grey capes will fly as Kaiden’s Kape Krusaders tackle the Brain Tumour Walk at UVic

A year ago Kaiden, 10, one year ago I found out I had Anaplastic Ependymoma stage 3

Freebies up for grabs to prep for Garagellenium in Oak Bay

New sponsor offers kits to make the sale smooth

VIDEO: Tide pool school draws a crowd to explore seaside in Oak Bay

Friends of Uplands Park hosted the inter-tidal exploration at Cattle Point on… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 22

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

Saanich and Victoria councils to meet next month to discuss steps to amalgamation

Issues likely to loom large in the June 26 meeting include the perceived clarity of the question

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Most Read