Drive Hand-Held Devices

Driving with a Hand-Held Device is an offence that quickly became your insurance company’s new darling and stood beside Careless Driving in the Highway Traffic Act as their new murder equivalent.

If you are convicted of this offence, the penalties are quite bad. On a first offence, you’re facing a mandatory 3-day suspension, a minimum of $500 plus court costs of a fine, and your insurance will likely raise your premiums.

Side note for those who have driver forgiveness programs in their insurance policy. Not all offences are covered. Careless Driving, for example, is an excluded offence and in some cases, Hand-Held Devices are too. If you’re facing a Hand-Held Device charge, you should check what’s covered.

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What Does the Highway Traffic Act Say?

Hand-held devices prohibited
Wireless communication devices

78.1 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages. 2009, c. 4, s. 2; 2015, c. 27, Sched. 7, s. 18.

Entertainment devices
(2) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

Hands-free mode allowed
(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), a person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway while using a device described in those subsections in hands-free mode. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

Exceptions
(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to,

(a) the driver of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or police department vehicle;

(b) any other prescribed person or class of persons;

(c) a person holding or using a device prescribed for the purpose of this subsection; or

(d) a person engaged in a prescribed activity or in prescribed conditions or circumstances. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

(5) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the use of a device to contact ambulance, police or fire department emergency services. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

(6) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The motor vehicle is off the roadway or is lawfully parked on the roadway.

2. The motor vehicle is not in motion.

3. The motor vehicle is not impeding traffic. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

Penalty
(6.1) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,

(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000;

(b) for a first subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $2,000; and

(c) for a second subsequent or an additional subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $3,000. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 16.

(6.2) If a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the Registrar shall suspend his or her driver’s licence,

(a) for a first offence, for three days;

(b) for a first subsequent offence, for seven days; and

(c) for a second subsequent or an additional subsequent offence, for 30 days. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 16.

(6.3) An offence under this section committed more than five years after a previous conviction for an offence under this section is not a subsequent offence for the purposes of subsection (6.1) or (6.2). 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 16.

Regulations
(7) The Minister may make regulations,

(a) prescribing devices for the purpose of subsections (1) and (2);

(b) prescribing persons, classes of persons, devices, activities, conditions and circumstances for the purpose of subsection (4). 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

Definition
(8) In this section,

“motor vehicle” includes a street car, motorized snow vehicle, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry and road-building machine. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

 

How do we Defend You on a Hand-Held Device?

I have defended and argued some notable cases. Some are seminal; some are historical. If you want to see some samples of my work, you can look (and click) in the following cases:
Notable Cases
I have defended and argued some notable cases. Some are seminal; some are historical. If you want to see some samples of my work, you can look (and click) in the following cases:
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