April 10, 2019 4:37 pm
Updated: April 10, 2019 4:38 pm

His cellphone was dead, but wearing earbuds constitutes distracted driving, B.C. court rules

WATCH: Almost everyone who drives a car has a cellphone. Do you know what the rules are regarding how and when you can use the phone while driving?


A B.C. driver who was wearing earbuds connected to a dead cellphone located in the centre cubby hole of his dashboard has been found guilty of distracted driving.

Judicial Justice Brent Adair found that even if Patrick Henry Grzelak’s iPhone was stowed away from him, the battery was dead and no sound was coming through the earbuds, he was still using his phone.

WATCH: (Aired March 20, 2019) B.C. judge’s ruling could result in hundreds of distracted driving ticket appeals

“In my view, by plugging the earbud wire into the iPhone, the defendant had enlarged the device, such that it included not only the iPhone (proper) but also attached speaker or earbuds,” Adair said in his judgment.

“In the same way, I would conclude that if the defendant had attached an exterior keyboard to the device for ease of inputting data, then the keyboard would then be part of the electronic device.”

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“Since the earbuds were part of the electronic device and since the earbuds were in the defendant’s ears, it necessarily follows that the defendant was holding the device (or part of the device) in a position in which it could be used, i.e. his ears.”

A tweet by the BC RCMP’s traffic unit says you are allowed to drive with one earbud in, but having both in will cost you a $368 fine and four points.

“If he hadn’t had two earbuds in and hadn’t extended the phone to include everything that went into his ears, he would have been fine. It was the addition of the earbuds that put it over the edge,” Vancouver-based lawyer Kyla Lee said.

As for the phone’s dead battery, the judge relied on a 2015 case that ruled holding the device in a position in which it may be used constitutes the offence, even if the device is dead.


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