Using Voice Activated Navigation Isn’t “Using” a Phone?
In a recent decision Justice Jamie Campbell acquitted Ajirogho Enakeno Ikede of distracted driving. Ikede was holding his iphone and asking Siri for directions when he was pulled over by a police office. Police ticketed Ikede for distracted driving contrary to Section 100 of the Motor Vehicle Act. That section of the act states:
It is an offence for a person to use a hand held cellular telephone or engage in text messaging on any communications device while operating a vehicle on a highway” [emphasis added]
The defendant Ikede had been acquitted by Justice Claudine MacDonald and the Crown appealed. Justice Campbell dismissed the Crown’s appeal and confirmed that Ikede was not guilty of distracted driving. Campbell J. was concerned that the word “use” was not defined in the legislation.
Justice Campbell was of the opinion that using the voice activated GPS function on a phone was not the same as using the cell phone to make a telephone call. Justice Campbell stated at paragraph 4 of his decision:
“Use” does not encompass all interactions with handheld devices that have cellular telephone functionality. When the driver, without looking at the screen of the device, engaged a voice activated navigational system related directly to the safe operation of the vehicle through a handheld electronic communications device, he was not “using” a cellular telephone.”
Voice activated systems are still distracting!