CASE LAW - R v Bleau

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe rules surrounding the use of electronic devices while driving have been refined by the BC Supreme Court yet again in the case of R v Bleau. Ryan Bleau was charged for having his smartphone sitting in his vehicle's cupholder using it to listen to a podcast while he drove to work. He was convicted of the offence in traffic court.

Mr. Bleau, representing himself, appealed the traffic court's verdict. Mr. Justice Voith agreed and set aside the conviction. The justice discussed "use" and "operate" within the context of BC's electronic device laws. Since Mr. Bleau had started the podcast prior to entering his car, was listening to it through the vehicle's audio system and had not touched his cell phone during the drive, it did not meet the definition of "use."

Despite this decision, drivers must still be cautious about using electronic devices while driving. Electronic devices must be secured to the vehicle for instances where drivers are allowed to manipulate them while operating their vehicle.

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