A Victoria man says his phone was in his cupholder when he was issued distracted driving ticket by Saanich Police. (Twitter/Josh Delgado)

Unclear laws to blame for cupholder cellphone tickets: lawyer

Island driver says cellphone was in cup holder when he was issued distracted driving ticket

A Saanich driver is the second B.C. motorist to go public after receiving a ticket for having a cellphone in the car’s cup holder.

Josh Delgado posted a picture of a $368 ticket he was issued by Saanich Police Sept. 23 for using an electronic device while driving. In the tweet, he says he’s going to court to defend his right to have his cellphone sitting in the cup holder while driving.

Delgado’s post follows a similar incident in the Lower Mainland earlier this month, when a Richmond senior received a distracted driving ticket on Vancouver’s West Georgia Street while stopped at a red light.

Her son, Trevor Kramer, told Black Press Media that his mother had both hands on the steering wheel and her cellphone in her cup holder when she received the violation.

Vancouver Police later canceled the ticket.

RELATED: B.C. senior’s $368 ticket for cellphone in cup holder sparks debate

RELATED: Police cancel $368 ticket given to B.C. senior for having cellphone in cup holder

Kyla Lee, an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) lawyer, says the law is unclear and causes confusion for motorists.

“The biggest concern I have as a lawyer is inconsistent enforcement of the law,” she said, adding that after nine years of distracted driving enforcement, there should be clarity from the government and consistency among police and RCMP.

“Without that we can’t have confidence in them,” Lee said. “If you don’t know whether what you’re doing is legal or illegal… everyone is going to be driving around in a state of fear.”

“It impacts drivers every day because people aren’t able to make decisions about how to govern themselves,” she added.

Like Delgado, drivers have recourse for provincial violation tickets they disagree with – motorists can can file a dispute by mail or in person at their local court house.

Speaking to media at the B.C. legislature Wednesday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnsworth said police have some discretion, but cellphones must be mounted and not accessible to drivers.

RELATED: Phone in cupholder isn’t OK, B.C. public safety minister says

Saanich Police did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

With files from Tom Fletcher.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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