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

Bevy of remarkable birthdays celebrated in Aldergrove

Maudie MacPherson (age 101), Vera Banner (91) and Alice Utas (95)

Pond hockey banned in public parks under updated Township bylaw

Public spaces bylaw imposes new restrictions on smoking, possession of drug paraphernalia, geocaching and more

Golfers tee up for Langley Memorial Hospital

Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation’s 22nd annual charity golf tournament sells out

Election 2018: Kim Richter withdraws from mayor’s race, runs for council instead

In a Facebook post, Richter announced she will seek another term on Township council

More office, retail space planned for Willoughby Town Centre

Fourth phase now underway as Township council grants third and final reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read