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

Fort St. James municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Caledonia Courier)
All-candidate forum being held in Fort St. James

Both Brenda Gouglas and Bradley Miller will be debating in the forum starting 6 p.m. Jan. 20

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

In the photo — nurses Jody Price, Janna Leidl, John Ormiston and Dr. Paul Stent. Stuart Lake Auxiliary donated $33,445.87 to the hospital towards the purchase of Panda IRES (baby warmer). (Submitted photo)
Letter from Coun. Paul Stent regarding COVID-19

Hello to all the people living on the shores of Stuart Lake.… Continue reading

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Head-on collision Jan. 14 claims one life west of Fort St. James

Jenkins said alcohol, as well as road surface conditions, have been ruled out as factors

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read