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

Gary Bender from Bailey Electric secures two art banners on lampposts at Argyle Street and Sixth Avenue in May 2020. Despite a delay due to COVID-19 measures, the Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith was able to collect and put up half of the art banners it usually does in the Rotary Arts District. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Rotary Arts District banner program switches to ‘paint at home’ for 2021

Arrowsmith Rotary Club needs 80 registrations to go ahead this year

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
BUDGET 2021: City of Port Alberni looks at tax increase of 3.95 percent

City of Port Alberni held its first budget meeting of the year

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and City of Port Alberni have chosen the Voyent Alert! app for emergency notifications. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni, ACRD unveil new emergency alert system

Program is a response to criticism of botched communication after 2018 tsunami warning

Students from the junior leadership class at ADSS help homelessness and addictions advocate Mark Braunagel load backpacks and bags full of supplies into his truck on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Students collected supplies to be handed out to some of Port Alberni’s most vulnerable people. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni high school students fill backpacks to help city’s homeless

Junior leadership students embraced service project, said teacher Mike Roberts

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

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

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Most Read