A single mother in the Victoria area is fighting a distracted driving ticket she received on New Year’s Eve because she touched her phone while it was mounted to the dashboard.
Brittney Taylor, a psychology student at the University of Victoria, came to a stop at a red light near Shelbourne Street and McKenzie Avenue around 2 p.m. on Dec. 31 and touched her “securely mounted” phone to change a song playing through the car’s stereo.
A police officer approached and asked to pull her over, she said, and told her he was going to give her a $368 ticket and four demerit points on her licence for “scrolling” on her phone.
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 says she’s been driving for more than 10 years with no issues and always wears a seat belt, sticks to the speed limit, and keep her phone mounted on the dash.
“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’d been in the passenger seat, asked the officer why she wasn’t just getting a warning. He was apparently told that there’s “grey area” in the distracted driving laws and that Taylor could dispute the fine in court.
She later took to Twitter to voice her anger, and Vancouver-based lawyer Kyla Lee replied.
ANOTHER case of police officers not understanding the cell phone law. She was ticketed for violating a license restriction when she has a Class 5 license, and therefore no electronic device restriction.
This officer needs better education and the ticket should be cancelled. https://t.co/wyTXCUtDpB
— Kyla Lee (@IRPlawyer) January 1, 2020
Lee said 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. Taylor has a Class 5 licence.
“The entire ticket itself is invalid and the information the officer gave her is wrong.”
She said the laws need clarification, but doesn’t expect the province to do so anytime soon.
Saanich News has reached out to the officer’s unit at the Capital Regional District for comment.