CASE LAW - R v Bainbridge

BC Courts Coat of ArmsJudicial Justice Burgess examines the definition of "use" as it applies to the use of electronic devices while driving.

Samuel Bainbridge was observed by police driving eastbound on Enterprise Way in Kelowna, British Columbia, holding a cell phone in his right hand. When stopped he stated “I wasn’t communicating with anyone. Force of habit to have phone in my hands.”

He was issued a violation ticket under section 214.2(1) MVA for using an electronic device while driving and disputed the allegation.

At trial Mr. Bainbridge testified that his right hand was holding his wallet and phone at the steering wheel. He confirmed that he had said to Constable Carson it was a force of habit to hold the phone. He was not operating any of the phone’s functions such as a phone call, texting, GPS, charging the phone or listening to music through the phone.

As he was holding the cellphone in a position where it could have been used, the Judicial Justice entered a conviction for the offence.

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