Campbell River courthouse. Google maps

Listening to podcast off phone app while driving not distracted driving, B.C. judge rules

Campbell River man appeals ticket, saying he was not touching the phone while podcast played

A Campbell River man successfully appealed a distracted driving ticket after the judge ruled that hands-free listening to a podcast with your phone beside you does not constitute a prohibited use of a cellphone as defined by the Motor Vehicle Act.

“None of those prohibited forms of ‘use’ is engaged by passively listening to an audio broadcast that is initiated through a cellphone before a driver enters their vehicle,” Justice Peter G. Voith said in his reasons for Judgment dated Jan. 6 in Campbell River.

Ryan Michael Bleau disputed a ticket for driving while using a phone but lost his case on Feb. 25, 2020. He was issued a ticket for using an electronic device while driving contrary to s. 214.2 of the Motor Vehicle Act. Bleau was alone in his car and was driving to work and did not touch or otherwise interact with his phone at any point while driving. The phone was, however, playing a podcast through the speakers of the sound system of his truck, linked wirelessly by way of a Bluetooth connection.

“At all material times the phone was located in the cup holder of the centre console between the driver and passenger seats,” Justice Voith said. “The phone was placed loosely in the cup holder, held in place by only the rubber grommet or seal of the cup holder. It was not securely fixed to the vehicle by any magnetic or physical implement, and the appellant accepted that nothing adhered the phone to the cup holder.”

The Judicial Justice, in the original Feb. 25, 2020 conviction, concluded that the appellant had used an electronic device to play a podcast through his car stereo without the phone being firmly affixed to the vehicle and that that conduct constituted a “technical” violation of s. 214.2 of the Act.

But the appeal court judge Voith, decided that Bleau did not engage in a “use” of the phone that is prohibited under the Act or under the Use of Electronic Devices While Driving Regulation.

“The fact that his phone, through which a podcast was playing, was not secured in his vehicle or on his person is not a form of ‘use’ or a prohibited activity under the Act or Regulation,” Justice Voith said.

Bleau drove into the parking lot at his workplace when he was pulled over by a police officer who said he saw Bleau’s right hand holding his phone to his ear as he drove down the road. Bleau denied that was the case and filed evidence, in the form of a phone bill, that shows there is no chargeable entry pertaining to the time prior to when the officer issued the ticket.

The judge in the original case indicated that he had no reason to disbelieve either officer or the appellant and that he was unable to resolve the inconsistency.

The appellant testified, and this evidence was not contested, that when he first started his vehicle the radio came on automatically. Shortly thereafter, perhaps “30 seconds to a minute later,” his Bluetooth “automatically kicked in as it is set up to do” and he thereafter listened to a podcast until he arrived at his workplace.

RELATED: $578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

RELATED: B.C. judge tosses ‘N’ driver’s claim he was just using phone to decline his mom’s call


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Supreme CourtCampbell Riverdistracted driving

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: COVID-19 restrictions continue to affect us all

Canada has recorded more than 700,000 confirmed cases of pandemic

A couple living at the Summerland Waterfront Resort is trying to sell their unit because of strata changes which will require them to pay significantly higher strata fees or have their unit included in the resort’s rental pool (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Couple living at Summerland resort facing increases

Permanent residents of Summerland Waterfront Resort told fees will more than double

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

The bus shelter across from the police detachment is one of ten smashed Jan. 17. (Monique Tamminga)
Glass smashed out of 10 bus shelters in Penticton

One of the bus shelters is right across from the RCMP detachment

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

(Big White Ski Resort)
28 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

More than 200 cases have been identified since the cluster was announced

Police are seeking further witnesses after an elderly woman who was struck by a vehicle in Salmon Arm succumbed to her injuries. (File Photo)
Salmon Arm pedestrian dies after being hit by truck along Highway 1

Collision took place on Jan. 15 in downtown Salmon Arm, police looking for witnesses

A cow moose wanders around the Silver Star Elementary School neighbourhood Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Contributed)
Moose chases two people near North Okanagan school

Conservation and dog control attending to the situation

The sale of the Kirschner Mountain Development for $22M marks the largest in Realtor history, in the Okanagan. (Contributed)
Kelowna mountain development sold for $22M

The sale of the 640-acre Kirschner Mountain development has made the history books

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Most Read