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B.C. driver gets distracted driving ticket for switching song while cellphone was mounted to dash

Vancouver Island woman vows to fight distracted driving ticket
There is more controversy over a distracted driving ticket issued to a Vancouver Island woman, further illustrating the confusion over new laws. Richard Zussman reports.

A Vancouver Island woman says she is going to fight a distracted driving ticket she was issued for changing the song on her cellphone.

Brittney Taylor says an officer pulled her over near Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue on New Year’s Eve after she touched her phone that was secured in a phone mount. The officer complimented her for having a clean driving record, then issued a distracted driving ticket.

READ MORE: Cup holder strikes again: 2nd B.C. driver slapped with distracted driving ticket

“He said there is a distracted driving grey area that even he is stuck in,” Taylor said. “He doesn’t know if everything is legal or if what I did was legal or illegal.

“I have a daughter, I go to school, I’m a student. I don’t make a lot of money, so it really impacted me financially and emotionally.”

In a statement, Saanich Police say drivers are only allowed to touch their mounted phone once to answer or end a phone call.

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Another B.C. driver ticketed for cell phone in cup holder
Another B.C. driver ticketed for cell phone in cup holder

“The legislation does not permit touching the device to play music, and should only be done prior to driving,” the statement said.

“Furthermore, the music must be streamed through the vehicle speakers as well. When driving, motorists should be focused solely on the task of driving. It’s that simple.”

READ MORE: Pious distracted driver slapped with fine after being busted using ‘prayer app’

But Kyla Lee, a lawyer with Acumen Law, says the laws are not as straightforward as the police make them out to be.

Lee says no one understands what the rules are and there is no clear list of what can and cannot be done.

“The distracted driving rules in British Columbia are not clear and this leads to continuous problems on how the law is being enforced,” Lee said.

Vancouver driver busted with elaborate steering wheel setup
Vancouver driver busted with elaborate steering wheel setup

“There is a lot of confusion of what constitutes an electronic device, if you are allowed your phone if the battery is dead or if it has been removed.”

Taylor is hopeful her ticket will be waived, not because of rules she believes are unclear, but because the police officer didn’t properly issue the ticket. The ticket was issued as an offence by a new driver, although Taylor has had her full licence for six years and has no conditions on the licence.

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“I’m hopeful it will be thrown out because it is an invalid ticket,” Taylor said.

“Law enforcement make mistakes. I think it’s really crucial that [we] as citizens stand up when they do make mistakes.”