dash-mounted phone

Dash-mounted phone: calls for greater clarity

Another day, another dash-mounted phone distracted driving conundrum. By now the law is so convoluted it’s honestly safer and more convenient to throw your phone into a volcano.

Police issued a woman a $368 ticket for distracted driving. The driver was stopped at a red light when she changed songs on her dash-mounted phone. A police officer saw her and gave her a ticket and four demerit points, equalling a total of $578.

This blog will look at the issues around dash-mounted phones and distracted driving.

Grey area over dash-mounted phones

Distracted driving, or use of an electronic device while driving, falls under the Motor Vehicle Act. It defines it as using any of the devices functions while driving or holding a phone in a manner in which it could be used.

Although the law prohibits using an electronic device behind the wheel, you can have one within sight of the driver, provided it is securely fixed. Drivers may also answer calls from dash-mounted phones, provided it takes only one touch to do so. Just last year, a case established that it is not an offence to have a phone loose in a cupholder, provided it is not in use.

The problem is these laws are not widely known. Nor are they very clear.

In the case mentioned earlier, the driver had her phone securely fixed but she as still given a ticket. According to the RCMP, you can only touch a secured once and any scrolling or button-pushing is considered use of the device.

Class 7 and Class 5

Further complicating the case, the officer issued a ticket for a Class 7 driver despite the woman holding a Class 5 licence. There is an absolute ban on Class 7 ‘N’ and ‘L’ drivers having electronic devices within sight while driving whereas Class 5s are allowed to have them if they are securely fixed.

Because the ticket was for a Class 7 driver, it is likely the ticket will be found invalid at traffic court.

Whatever the outcome, what’s certain is we need greater clarity on distracted driving regulations.

If you want to dispute a distracted driving ticket, call us on 608-608-1200.

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