Judge Acquits Vancouver Island Woman’s Driving Ticket for Charging Phone

Judicial justice H.W. Gordon has thrown out a Vancouver Island woman’s distracted driving ticket handed out while charging her phone, CTV News is reporting. The decision issued in Victoria provincial court ruled that Meghan Sarah Wesley Wylie was not “using” her phone as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act.


Const. M. Christians of the Capital Regional District Integrated Road Safety Unit, who issued the ticket to Wylie on Dec. 28, 2018, had argued that the accused woman was using the phone in two ways i.e. by having it plugged in to charge and by having it positioned on her lap.

Wylie, however, argued that the phone was not on her lap, but on the driver’s seat next to her right thigh:

Regardless of where the phone actually was, both Wylie and the officer agreed that the screen was not illuminated and she was not touching it with her hands at the time of the traffic stop on Tillicum Road in Esquimalt, during which the ticket was issued.

These two facts – that the screen was not illuminated and that she was not touching it with her hands – were key to the judge’s interpretation of B.C.’s distracted driving law.

The judge noted in his decision that simply charging a device does not constitute operating one of its functions, in the same way, that plugging in a TV doesn’t constitute “using” it.