Cellphone Playing Podcast in Cupholder Not Distracted Driving Says B.C. Judge

According to Global News, a Campbell River resident, Ryan Bleu, was listening to an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience while driving when a officer flagged him for distracted driving, issuing him a ticket for the offence.

The Vancouver Island man was merely listening to a podcast while he drove in B.C., with his phone in his truck’s cup holder, connected via Bluetooth to the speaker system — a fact that the police officer at the scene didn’t concur with. 

Bleu opened a dispute against the ticket, backing it up with some dashcam footage and phone records in the provincial court. The provincial court rejected his argument, so he appealed the decision in B.C. Supreme Court where his evidence bore fruit and the ticket was waived. 

Justice Peter Voith of the B.C. Supreme Court deemed, “The fact that his phone, through which a podcast was playing, was not secured in his vehicle or on his person is not a form of ‘use’ or a prohibited activity under the Act or Regulation.” 

This is where B.C. steps into muddled waters with its unclear distracted driving laws, especially pertaining to cell phones.

Sarah Leamon, a Vancouver Lawyer, said that “there’s a great deal of officer discretion at the roadside in handing these kinds of tickets out, so inevitably we are going to see these tickets challenged.”

As for Bleu, he says anyone with a high school education and time can defend themselves when it comes to fighting a traffic ticket. “Just Google, man,” he said. “That’s it.”

Canada celebrates Road Safety Week every year from May 17 to 24 in an effort to target distracted drivers and speeders.