The BC Driving Lawyers Instagram account shares driving-related tips like this one every Tuesday. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Island mom gets $368 traffic ticket for touching phone mounted to dashboard

Lawyer says ticket is ‘invalid’ and officer gave inaccurate information

A Saanich mom received a hefty distracted driving ticket on New Year’s Eve day and her lawyer says it’s invalid.

Brittney Taylor, a psychology student at the University of Victoria and single mom, came to a stop at a red light near the intersection of Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue around 2 p.m. on Dec. 31 and touched her cell phone – which she said was “securely mounted” on her dash – to change the song.

Taylor was stopped by an officer from the Capital Regional District Integrated Traffic Safety Unit who asked her to pull over. The officer explained that Taylor would be issued a $368 ticket for “scrolling” on her phone and four demerit points on her licence for a total of $578. She said the officer explained that if she’d simply been answering the phone, she’d have been allowed to press up to 10 buttons.

Taylor pointed out that her driving record was “completely clean” before the incident. She’s been driving for more than 10 years with no issues and always making sure to wear a seatbelt, drive the speed limit and keep her cell phone mounted on her dash.

READ ALSO: What exactly counts as distracted driving in B.C.?

“He gave me the ticket after checking my record and specifically saying how my record was immaculate with no priors,” Taylor said, noting she’d been in tears over the cost of the ticket.“I’m a struggling student that goes to the food bank monthly and tries to keep a roof over my daughter’s head.”

Taylor’s father, who was in the passenger seat at the time, asked the officer why she wasn’t receiving a warning as she had a clean driving record. The officer told them that there’s “grey area” in the distracted driving laws and that Taylor could dispute the fine in court.

After the incident, Taylor took to Twitter to voice her anger and Vancouver-based Immediate Roadside Prohibition lawyer Kyla Lee replied.

Lee wrote that the ticket should be cancelled because it was issued for violating a Class 7 restriction – use of an electronic device while driving – under the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) which doesn’t apply to Taylor’s Class 5 license.

“The entire ticket itself is invalid and the information the officer gave her is wrong,” Lee told Saanich News.

READ ALSO: Unclear laws to blame for cupholder cellphone tickets: lawyer

She noted that according to the MVA, there is zero-tolerance for use of electronic devices for N and L drivers with a Class 7 license. However, drivers with a full licence – Class 5 – are allowed to use a device for calls as long as it’s mounted to the dash and either voice-activated or can be answered with one touch.

Lee emphasized that the lack of clarity surrounding the law is the reason people end up violating it or getting ticketed incorrectly.

“This grey area of distracted driving needs to be immediately addressed,” Taylor said.

After speaking with Lee – who feels she’s one of the few people who fully understand the law as she’s been over it hundreds of times – Taylor decided to dispute the ticket.

Lee pointed out that the legislation would need to be amended by the B.C. government, but doesn’t see that happening any time soon. For now, she’s happy to act as a resource for people struggling to navigate the regulations and is open to calls and messages through Twitter and Instagram.

Saanich News has reached out to the CRD Integrated Traffic Safety Unit for comment.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

The Baynes Sound Connector cable ferry. Black Press file photo
Baynes Sound Connector delayed due to emergency call

Paddleboarder was in distress near Union Bay Thursday

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read