Friday, July 6, 2012

Distracted driving: OK to briefly hold cellphone, judge rules in Toronto case

Everyone will now say "I wasn't making a call -- I was just grabbing the phone briefly...".  Of course, if the police see you holding it for three blocks that won't work...
Briefly handling your cellphone while behind the wheel should not get you a ticket under Ontario's recent distracted driving law, a judge has ruled.
“To be ‘holding’ a hand-held wireless communication device requires more than merely touching or a brief handling of such a device,” says provincial court Justice Shaun Nakatsuru.

Nakatsuru overturned a ruling by Justice of the Peace Ruby Wong, who had found a Toronto woman guilty of “holding” her cellphone while stopped at a red light when she retrieved it from her car floor, where it had dropped.

The ruling is binding on Ontario justices of the peace, who hear many such Highway Traffic Act cases.

“It was the just thing to do,” the driver, Khojasteh Kazemi, said in an interview. “I didn’t do anything. I just picked up the phone when I was behind the red light.


Anonymous said...

While this isn't the most pressing issue in times of record deficits, debts etc. it is an excellent example of mixed up priorities.

Judges deciding whether a cell phone was held vs. used seems an axtraordinarily flippant use of time.

Are you suggesting that cops tail cell phone users for three blocks before ticketing a the user? I doubt this much effort goes into investigating B&E's.

Is there not enough other stuff for judges, lawyers, cops and JoP's to be doing?

The Rat said...

You're right Mr. Anonymous. How about we get rid of a stupid law and let police, judges, and the courts deal with "crimes" that have actually caused harm. We have criminalized a behaviour that in very rare circumstances may lead to a traffic accident. It's getting just a little bit into the minutiae for me.