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How do the police in BC catch drivers using their cell phones?

In British Columbia it is an offence to hold or operate an electronic device while driving. This includes while you’re stopped in traffic, at a red light, or even in a traffic jam.

It’s a serious offence. In fact, it’s considered a high-risk offence.

And if you are ticketed and convicted of using an electronic device you will receive four points on your drivers license which, triggers driver point premium in addition to the fine. The ticket amount and driver point premium comes to a total of $582. But that’s not the end of it.

In British Columbia, when you exceed three points on your driving record, you will face an insurance increase. So a cell phone ticket is no laughing matter. But it gets worse.

If you receive two cell phone tickets in one year, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles will review your driving record and may prohibit you from driving for a period up to twelve months.

If you are a New Driver, class 7, even one cell phone ticket can trigger a driving prohibition of up to six months.

How people get caught for cell-phone tickets:

How do the police catch people using an electronic device? Usually the police actually see the person with the device in their hand.

Holding the device constitutes an offence. Interacting with the device is also an offence, but most drivers are ticketed because the police saw them with the smart phone in their hand.

There are other offences with respect to using an electronic device, but in the vast majority of cases people are caught because they have the device in their hand and are engaging with the device.

The evidence:

An officer viewing an offence is the justification for issuing the ticket. When it comes time to go to court, the evidence of the offence comes from the officer testifying about having observed the offence.

Remember, in British Columbia traffic tickets must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and you are entitled to have a trial. You are entitled to be represented by a lawyer if you wish and people are regularly acquitted of this offence.

Driving a motor vehicle is an activity that demands your full attention. There is no doubt that interacting with your cell phone while driving distracts you from your duties as a driver.

Nevertheless, the punishment you get for using or holding an electronic device is very harsh. Many would say the punishment is disproportionate to the offence but public opinion does not change the fact that the government has decided to come down hard to deal with so-called distracted driving.

If you get a cell phone ticket in BC, talk to a lawyer before paying it. We have been defend electronic device tickets since the law was introduced in 2010 and we know the defences that work.

We’re the original BC Driving Lawyers and we defend traffic tickets. Call us now.