A recent distracted driving case has prompted a major reminder that you can be fined for wearing earphones while you're driving. The RCMP can issue a distracted driving fine to Canadians who wear headphones while driving.
Today on April 10, a Canadian driver was found guilty of distracted driving by the court and he now has to pay a hefty fine. Why? It's all because he wore headphones while he was driving, even though they were attached to a phone that was dead.
BC resident Patrick Henry Grezlak had his phone away from him in the cubby hole of his car as he drove. It was also completely out of battery, meaning he wasn't listening to music, but he did have headphones in both of his ears.
"The screen was not illuminated, no music, no conversation or anything else was coming through the earbuds," reads the court documents.
Judicial Justice Brent Adair found the driver guilty of distracted driving. This means he now has to pay several hundred dollars for the fine. Justice Adair's reasons for judgment were explained in the documents.
"Obviously, here the cell phone itself was sitting in the centre cubby hole, and was not in the defendants hands, or in his lap. But that is not the end of the matter," he explained.
"In my view, by plugging the earbud wire into the iPhone, the defendant had enlarged the device, such that it included not only the iPhone (proper) but also attached speaker or earbuds".
The BC RCMP said in a tweet that it is illegal to drive with headphones in both ears, but it's okay if you only have one earbud in. The fine for this distracted driving stint is $368 and four points.
The law applies in several Canadian provinces, including BC and Alberta. Several other actions can count as distracted driving under the law in various provinces as well, such as
- "talking and using a mobile device
- reading (e.g. books, maps)
- programming a GPS
- watching videos
- eating or drinking
- smoking or vaping
- adjusting the radio
- listening to extremely loud music
- talking to passengers"
On the east coast of Canada, Ontario changed its distracted driving laws earlier this year in 2019. Drivers could now face a fine of $615 for their first distracted driving offence. Police in Toronto have also been cracking down on distracted drivers.