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B.C. Man with Dead iPhone Battery Gets Distracted Driving Ticket

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A man in British Columbia received a distracted driving ticket, despite his iPhone having a dead battery, reports CTV News.

According to the final judgment from B.C. Provincial Court, Patrick Grzelak was “coming from work after a long day,” in his black Mercedes, heading Northbound on 152 Street in Surrey, B.C., back in October of 2018.

With his Apple iPhone in the centre cubby storage on the front of his dashboard, Grzelak had headphones in his ears via his smartphone. His iPhone battery was dead and the device was inoperable.

According to Justice B. Adair, he concluded, “In my view, by plugging the earbud wire into the iPhone, the defendant had enlarged the device, such that it included not only the iPhone (proper) but also attached speaker or earbuds. In the same way, I would conclude that if the defendant had attached an exterior keyboard to the device for ease of inputting data, then the keyboard would then be part of the electronic device.”

The Judge wrote since Grzelak had headphones on, “it necessarily follows that the defendant was holding the device (or part of the device) in a position in which it could be used, i.e. his ears.”



The final verdict referenced a previous 2015 court ruling, in which a distracted driving ticket was upheld since a smartphone was being held in a position it may be used, despite a dead battery.

Justice Adair concluded reliance on the 2015 ruling and Section 214.1 (a) of the Motor Vehicle Act, which prohibits holding a smartphone or electronic device “in which it may be used constitutes the offence, even if it is temporarily inoperative.”

So there you have it folks. Even with a smartphone out of battery life, you can still get a distracted driving ticket in B.C. because you’re not allowed to hold a device under the Motor Vehicle Act.

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