Wear earbuds while you drive? B.C. courts confirm that's distracted driving | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Wear earbuds while you drive? B.C. courts confirm that's distracted driving

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October 09, 2020 - 6:30 AM

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has denied the appeal of a man who argued earbuds were not part of an electronic device.

The case started on Oct. 12, 2016 when Patrick Grzelak was driving home in his Mercedes in the Lower Mainland when he was pulled over and charged with using an electronic device while driving.

His iPhone was in the central cubbyhole of his console and the battery was dead but he was also wearing earbuds in each ear that were plugged into the dead phone.

READ MORE: B.C. man convicted of distracted driving despite dead iPhone battery

At trial, he said he had developed the habit of leaving the earbuds in his ears while driving home to block traffic noise.

The original ruling said Grzelak was holding the phone in a position for it to be used because he was holding the earbuds in his ears and those were effectively part of the phone. It didn’t matter that the phone’s battery was dead.

In his appeal, Grzelak agreed with the ruling that the phone was an electronic device even when the battery was dead. He disagreed with the part of the ruling that said the earbuds were effectively part of the iPhone.

“The Crown agrees with Mr. Grzelak that wired earbuds or headphones, considered on their own, do not fall within the definition of electronic device,” Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes wrote in her Oct. 6 judgement. “The issue, then, is whether, as the judicial justice found and the Crown submits, the earbuds, when connected to the iPhone, became part of an ‘electronic device.’”

Justice Holmes ruled that the lower court decision was correct and earbuds, if connected to a phone, constitutes an electronic device.

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