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.


Holier than thou Judges

Distracted driving is more than electronic devices being used; other reasons for the citation include personal grooming, eating/drinking, reading, pets, other passengers, and not knowing your route.

(this is from the ICBC report on distracted driving)

Why Do the courts take a simple law and dissect it to their view of interpretation?  I'm a firm believer in the KISP ruling (Keep It Simple Principle).  This law was enacted to seriously enforce the distracted driving violators and meant to cover ALL usage, what part of that doesn't the court get?  When the courts start making grey areas out of the intent and purpose of a law, than it is rot with obstacles to enforce.  When the public has clearly demonstrated their intolerance to this form of negligence and a law is introduced to reflect that but the courts proceed to, well, bastardize the intent/purpose then we are left with little to no desire to enforce it.  If we can't get these neglected bad drivers from "using" their devices while driving, than we have not accomplished our goal or minimized the violations.  It really is black/white.... don't "use" your devices while driving!  What is so difficult for the courts to understand and enforce that VERY simple concept?  I sure hope this case is appealed, it sends a very wrong and ambiguous message to the populace.

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