Saskatchewan Judge Finds Man Holding iPhone Not Guilty of Distracted Driving

Update:

On March 25, 2015 in the Provincial Court in Moosejaw, defendant Cory J. Haliwyz was found not guilty of using an electronic communication device while driving contrary to s. 241.1(2) of The Traffic Safety Act due to the fact that he simply glanced at his iPhone on May 12, 2014.
On March 25, 2015 in the Provincial Court in Moosejaw, defendant Cory J. Haliwyz was found not guilty of using an electronic communication device while driving contrary to s. 241.1(2) of The Traffic Safety Act due to the fact that he simply glanced at his iPhone on May 12, 2014. Legislation banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving became law on January 1, 2010 in the Province of Saskatchewan with a $230 fine.

see source

Legislation banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving became law Jan. 1, 2010 in the province.

A man who admitted glancing at his smart phone while driving a vehicle has been found not guilty of violating Saskatchewan’s Traffic Safety Act.

Cory Haliwyz was issued a ticket on May 12, 2014, charged with using an electronic communication device while driving contrary to Section 241.1 (2) of the Traffic Safety Act. He successfully argued that what he did, however, did not constitute a violation of the Safety Act.

A Moose Jaw police officer testified to seeing Haliwyz holding a black iPhone and looking at the screen for approximately 30 to 45 seconds. Haliwyz said he had received a text from his daughter, which is why he picked up the phone from the console. Haliwyz said he was not holding the phone for 30 to 45 seconds. Instead, he testified that he picked up the phone for a brief moment to see who sent the text, and that he did not read or respond to the text. He said the other times, “he was adjusting the temperature controls in his van as he had three children in the back seat.” Haliwyz, Judge Margaret Gordon wrote, “advised if it was from his daughter, he was going to turn and pick her up at school.”

Moose Jaw Police Cruiser.
Moose Jaw Police Cruiser.

The officer looked at the phone and saw there was an incoming text message and that the officer did not see any outgoing response, Gordon noted.

The Crown argued that the purpose of the legislation is clearly to guard against and deal with distracted driving, including drivers taking their eyes off the road to answer or look at their cell phone or electronic communication device.

Haliwyz argued that merely picking up and looking at the screen of a cell phone or electronic communication device cannot be what is meant under the Traffic Safety Act.

Under the appropriate section of the Safety Act:

(a) “electronic communications equipment” means a cellular phone or other prescribed equipment;

(b) “make a phone call” means to make, answer or end a phone call, or to transmit or receive voice communication;

(d) “use” means, with respect to electronic communications equipment, to use the electronic communications equipment to make a phone call, text, talk, email, or surf or access the Internet, or for any other prescribed purpose.

(2) No driver shall use electronic communications equipment while driving a motor vehicle on a highway.

Gordon noted that in Saskatchewan, it is not an offence to hold or handle a cellular device while driving on a highway unless it is being used for one of the specific purposes cited in Section 241.1 (d).

“As we know, some people use their electronic communication devices for the time of day or as GPS devices and even with verbal commands, may glance at the device, address or map on the screen while driving. Is that use caught by this section? I don’t think so, but I don’t need to answer that question here,” Gordon wrote.

According to the judge, the definition of use in the legislation is “not so encompassing so as to prohibit looking at your electronic communication device.”

Haliwyz was found not guilty.

It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Pin on Pinterestshare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail to someone

2 comments

  1. Hi Lorne:
    I disagree with your reasoning. The Judge, M. Gordon, J in this case, quoted the law and finally followed the jurisprudence (see R v Schafer and R v Farden) and noted that the Saskatchewan legislation differs from the similar legislation in British Columbia and Ontario which makes “holding or using” a cellular device an offence.

    The fault lies in the way that the law was written, not the law itself and certainly not the Judge who simply performed her job. If this driver was observed by a police officer holding his phone in either British Columbia or Ontario, a conviction would have followed (see section 78.1 (“Handheld devices prohibited” of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act). Police, ambulance drivers and firefighters are exempt from this law in Ontario, and they all can’t be referred to as idiots because they need to use their phones in the performance of their duties.

    No one wants to see a person on the side of the road hit by a distracted driver and as a result harmed or killed, simply because you disagree with their ruling.

  2. This ruling by the judge is going to open the door for all the idiots using their cell phone to say I was just glancing at my phone. One can only hope the Judge is walking on the side of the road and is hit by a person just glancing at their phone because as the judge ruled it is not distracted driving. Distracted driving kills more people now than impaired driving, the laws were brought in to reduce the incidents of accidents and injury from distracted driving. Too bad we are not like the U.S. and we could vote for judges and the we could throw out judges that make stupid rulings like this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.