Sask. driver who looked at cellphone is off the hook in distracted driving case

A Moose Jaw, Sask., man who got a cellphone ticket last year is not guilty because he only looked at the device and didn't use it, a judge has ruled.

Looking at cell not same as using it, judge says

A motorist who looks at a cell phone but doesn't touch the buttons is not necessarily guilty of violating Saskatchewan's cellphone ban, a Moose Jaw judge has ruled. (Aaron Amat/Shutterstock)

A Saskatchewan man who got a cellphone ticket last year is not guilty because he only looked at the device and didn't use it, a Moose Jaw judge has ruled.

Cory Haliwyz was driving a van on Moose Jaw's Main Street in May 2014 when he got the ticket.

A police officer said he saw the man holding his cellphone while he was driving. When he stopped the van and talked to Haliwyz, he saw an incoming text message on the phone. 

The man told a provincial court judge he didn't push any buttons or manipulate the iPhone.

He said when he heard it buzz, he picked it up and briefly looked at the locked screen to see if it was his daughter.

The Crown argued that the province's cellphone law is clearly intended to clamp down on distracted driving, so the Haliwyz should be found guilty.

However, Judge Margaret Gordon disagreed.

"Mr. Haliwyz looked at the screen, saw who it was and nothing more," Gordon said in a written decision that was released March 25. "He did not touch any of the controls, press any of the buttons or do anything active."

The law doesn't prohibit people from looking at their electronic communication devices, so Haliwyz is not guilty, she said.


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