Hands free driving case goes back to court

Earlier this year Ian Pumphrey successfully fought a traffic ticket arguing that, thanks to a unique set of circumstances, he was not technically breaking the law.

The Yukon government is appealing a court decision involving hands-free driving.

Earlier this year Ian Pumphrey successfully fought a traffic ticket arguing that, thanks to a unique set of circumstances, he was not technically breaking the law.

Pumphrey told the court he pulled over to answer his cell phone, turned on the speaker phone function and then pinned the phone between his shoulder and his ear before driving off.

The judge in his case ruled that the Yukon doesn’t have regulations which define where a phone needs to be placed in order for it to be hands-free, so Pumphrey was not breaking the law.

Other jurisdictions have regulations to close up this loophole. The Yukon’s Motor Vehicle Act mentions such regulations, but none actually exist.

The judge encouraged the government to create the required regulations. Instead, the government decided to appeal.

“The Department of Justice assessed the Territorial Court’s decision and its effect on an important provision of the Motor Vehicles Act respecting public safety and determined that an appeal was both necessary and appropriate in keeping with the intent and the purpose of the distracted driving provision,” spokesperson Tyler Plaunt said in a statement.

Plaunt did not say why the government chose to appeal, rather than change the regulations.

It wouldn’t be difficult to do. Since the act already makes reference to regulations, the Yukon legislature doesn’t have to vote on changes. All that’s required is an order in council signed by the commissioner.

There is no word when the Pumphrey case will make it to court.

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