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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 11-01-2010, 05:39 PM   #1
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Cell phone ban - what's the difference between cell phones and MP3 players?

While I generally support reducing distractions to drivers, I am somewhat stumped at how the government draws a line between cell phones and MP3 players.


For the purpose of the "cell phone ban", the MVA defines a "Handheld Electronic Device" as ones capable of sending and receiving text messages, emails, phone calls, etc..

Since MP3 players aren't considered to be a handheld electronic device, a driver can operate one while driving.

Why is it then that a driver is not permitted to operate the MP3 player functionality built into a smartphone? The controls are the same: back, forward, play, pause, etc... the only difference is that the smartphone is defined as a handheld electronic device and therefore restricted.

Adding to my confusion, a driver IS permitted to operate the handheld electronic device to answer a phone call if the call can be answered by the press of only one button.

So, I can answer a call and talk to someone not in the vehicle (where most of the actual distraction comes from), but not hit the "next" button on the MP3 player screen.

So before I go out and buy an MP3 player to add to the collection of distracting electronic devices already inside my car, please explain why I can't use my smartphone to play music in the same way I AM permitted to use my MP3 player.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:51 PM   #2
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I suggest you take a look at the information related to the ban on electronic devices.

I don't know where you were getting your information but I don't see anything about being able to operate one while driving

http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/publi...iving-info.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDF File
A person may listen to sound from a hand-held audio player if:
• The device is not held in the person’s hand; and
• The device is securely fixed to the motor vehicle or worn
securely on the person’s body in a manner that does not
obstruct the person’s view of the front or sides of the motor
vehicle or interfere with the safety or operating equipment of
the motor vehicle; and
• The sound is emitted through the speakers of the sound
system of the motor vehicle.
Note1: The driver may pre-program or set the device to play while the
vehicle is safely parked and off the roadway.
Note2: Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) usage restrictions do not
include listening to audio or music through the vehicle’s sound system
but where the source is a hand-held audio player as long as that audio
player is not held or operated.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
In this Part:

"electronic device" means

(a) a hand-held cellular telephone or another hand-held electronic device that includes a telephone function,

(b) a hand-held electronic device that is capable of transmitting or receiving electronic mail or other text-based messages, or

(c) a prescribed class or type of electronic device;

"use", in relation to an electronic device, means one or more of the following actions:

(a) holding the device in a position in which it may be used;

(b) operating one or more of the device's functions;
(c) communicating orally by means of the device with another person or another device;

(d) taking another action that is set out in the regulations by means of, with or in relation to an electronic device.



Prohibition against use of electronic device while driving
214.2 (1) A person must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

An MP3 player does not appear to be an "Electronic Device" for the purpose of this ban. However, a smartphone IS an electronic device as defined in the act.

There is nothing in the act which prohibits the operation of the MP3 player, however using any features of the smartphone (such as the MP3 playback feature) is illegal.

Why is an MP3 player legal to use whereas the MP3 feature of a smartphone is not?
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:47 PM   #4
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Most people don't talk to other people through their MP3 players???
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:03 PM   #5
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Most people don't talk to other people through their MP3 players???
No, they don't.

But I am trying to understand the fundamental difference between pressing the "next" button on the face of an MP3 player and performing the same operation on the MP3 player screen of a smartphone.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:08 PM   #6
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Most people don't talk to other people through their MP3 players???
I wondered why I could hear the voices, but the voices would never respond to me!
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:23 PM   #7
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Accidents involving texting has gone the fuck up because people try to hide their phones while texting now leaving their eyes focused on their phone near their crotch.

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/201...xting-ban.html

Observe how the man in the article has his cellphone near the steering wheel in plain sight of potential police. The dude may still have his peripherals to avoid, to some degree, an accident if he wasn't scared of getting a ticket for texting while driving.

Where as with the new law, people are being "discrete" about it couldn't look more obvious. Yes, most people can see you look down and occasionally look up while in traffic. I highly doubt there's anything that interesting to look at below the steering wheel for more than 30 seconds.

What is it with the new aged dumb-shit laws that are passed?
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:43 PM   #8
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i'm sure if you have a smartphone - and take out the sim to only use the MP3 player part, AND you have it mounted to your dash - you can print out the new law, and explain to the officer that you're only using it for an MP3 player, you might not get a ticket

I don't understand how you can bash the law. I can understand people who advocate education over enforcement, but how do you educate people on "how to text safely while driving"...?
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:47 AM   #9
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if you're listening to music with the phone, and aren't touching it, then it's an MP3 player... what's the diff. mount it and use it. if you have only an MP3 player you can't touch that either anyways acording to that link says playlist has to be started while stoped.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:55 AM   #10
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i'm sure if you have a smartphone - and take out the sim to only use the MP3 player part, AND you have it mounted to your dash - you can print out the new law, and explain to the officer that you're only using it for an MP3 player, you might not get a ticket

I don't understand how you can bash the law. I can understand people who advocate education over enforcement, but how do you educate people on "how to text safely while driving"...?
I'm not bashing the law that prohibits texting and phone calls while driving, even tho several reports show that it is not helping to decrease distracted-driving collisions. You can't safely text while driving, I never said you could.

I am simply trying to figure out why I can press the "next" button on an MP3 player but not on a phone.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:56 AM   #11
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if you have only an MP3 player you can't touch that either anyways acording to that link says playlist has to be started while stoped.
Show me where in the BC MVA it says that...?
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:06 AM   #12
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Show me where in the BC MVA it says that...?
Use some common sense, most officers do.

Mount your smart phone in the car and only use the music app. Done. From a distance most wouldn't know the difference between an iTouch and iPhone - yet from a distance I could tell if you're just changing tracks, or hammering out a txt.
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:26 AM   #13
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Here's an idea, since your iphone has a camera on the front, Steve Jobs can implement some sort of gesture app to use your phone/mp3 player while docked without touching the phone. Remember folks, you read it here first. If this shit comes out, you'll know that Steve Jobs stole this shit and I should patent this idea right the fuck now.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:41 PM   #14
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But if you are to use your cellphone as an MP3 player, you would have to have the sound come out through your car's speakers or else you can't use it while driving. I think if you wired your phone to play music out of your car speakers, then you are fine as long as you meet the other restrictions. If you do and you are listening to music and your phone rings, if it's on speakerphone, then you can use it without breaking the law as it is 'hands free'. So, using your phone's MP3 player feature properly as per the regs should leave you with no problem.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:53 PM   #15
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Use some common sense, most officers do.
Using common sense when it comes to speed of travel opens you up to risking tickets, why would it be any different when it comes to this?

The law doesn't allow for "common sense", it's too black and white in what it does and does not permit.

The fact is, an MP3 player is legal to use, whereas the MP3 playback function of a smartphone is not. I was hoping that an officer can explain the rationale behind this.
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:07 PM   #16
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That is why there is discretion and Police departments hire only the best people... Sure there'll be a few officers that will make mistakes, so feel free to make an official complaint. That is the system, if you don't like it then get a job and go into politics.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:10 AM   #17
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Using common sense when it comes to speed of travel opens you up to risking tickets, why would it be any different when it comes to this?

The law doesn't allow for "common sense", it's too black and white in what it does and does not permit.
I assume you've never been pulled over and given a warning. There's lots of grey area.

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The fact is, an MP3 player is legal to use, whereas the MP3 playback function of a smartphone is not. I was hoping that an officer can explain the rationale behind this.
Skidmark already provided the info you want. MP3 players do not make phone calls or txts, and smartphones do not have the ability to lock out phone calls and txt while driving.

If you are that worried, get a headunit that supports interfacing with your smartphone. My brother docks his iPhone in his glovebox then uses the steering wheel controls to change tunes.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:30 AM   #18
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I assume you've never been pulled over and given a warning. There's lots of grey area.


Skidmark already provided the info you want. MP3 players do not make phone calls or txts, and smartphones do not have the ability to lock out phone calls and txt while driving.

If you are that worried, get a headunit that supports interfacing with your smartphone. My brother docks his iPhone in his glovebox then uses the steering wheel controls to change tunes.
1)
No, never been pulled over, don't want to be and I certainly don't want to gamble with "grey area". Grey area or not, the law specifically states you are not permitted to use the features of any device that can make phone calls. And that includes glancing at it to check the time.

2)
a) You're allowed to touch the "call answer" button on your smartphone and engage in the distracting activity of conversing with someone not in the car via handsfree speakerphone.

b) You're allowed to press the "next" button on the face of your MP3 player to advance to the next song.

c) You're not allowed to press the "next" button on the face of your Smartphone to advance to the next song
3)
Many cars have audio and HVAC/other functions integrated into one unit and the only upgrade options are very expensive or don't exist at all.

My primary question still remains unanswered: What is the difference between pressing "Next" on the face of an MP3 player and using the same function of a smartphone and why is this difference so great that the latter of the two is deemed illegal?

Incidentally you are also not permitted to use your smartphone for navigation purposes but you are permitted to use a standalone navigation device.

So - instead of having ONE device clipped to your dashboard, this law encourages MORE distraction by forcing you to have an MP3 player and navigation unit attached to your dash, in addition to the phone you likely have sitting in the cup holder.

More devices, more clutter and more cables only serve to INCREASE distractions in the car.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
1)
No, never been pulled over, don't want to be and I certainly don't want to gamble with "grey area". Grey area or not, the law specifically states you are not permitted to use the features of any device that can make phone calls. And that includes glancing at it to check the time.

2)
a) You're allowed to touch the "call answer" button on your smartphone and engage in the distracting activity of conversing with someone not in the car via handsfree speakerphone.

b) You're allowed to press the "next" button on the face of your MP3 player to advance to the next song.

c) You're not allowed to press the "next" button on the face of your Smartphone to advance to the next song
3)
Many cars have audio and HVAC/other functions integrated into one unit and the only upgrade options are very expensive or don't exist at all.

My primary question still remains unanswered: What is the difference between pressing "Next" on the face of an MP3 player and using the same function of a smartphone and why is this difference so great that the latter of the two is deemed illegal?

Incidentally you are also not permitted to use your smartphone for navigation purposes but you are permitted to use a standalone navigation device.

So - instead of having ONE device clipped to your dashboard, this law encourages MORE distraction by forcing you to have an MP3 player and navigation unit attached to your dash, in addition to the phone you likely have sitting in the cup holder.

More devices, more clutter and more cables only serve to INCREASE distractions in the car.
These are questions/concerns/ambiguities which should be posed to the politicians who created the laws.

The police just enforce the laws.

That being said, this law won't stop me one bit from playing MP3's in my car from my blackberry.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:45 AM   #20
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These are questions/concerns/ambiguities which should be posed to the politicians who created the laws.

The police just enforce the laws.

That being said, this law won't stop me one bit from playing MP3's in my car from my blackberry.
Understood, but the police departments were also strong supporters of the laws, clearly they must have some insight as to why they support them being implemented this way.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:21 PM   #21
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best reasoning I've thought of: because it's too easy to be using your phone, then flip it to the music player should you get pulled over.

If you are *properly* using your phone's MP3 player functions while it is hooked to your car, noone should even know you are changing the song. I have my MP3 player hooked to my deck and it sits down near the ebrake, I never look at it because I know where the skip buttons are and noone outside of my car will ever know because it is "distracting" me by such a minute amount.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:34 PM   #22
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best reasoning I've thought of: because it's too easy to be using your phone, then flip it to the music player should you get pulled over.
Fair enough, makes sense. Still doesn't explain why I can press the button to answer a speakerphone call.

Officer: I saw you pressing buttons on your phone, were you texting?
Driver: No, I was hitting the "next" button on the MP3 player screen
Officer: Hmm.. sounds like an easy excuse - here's your ticket for texting and driving

OR...

Officer: I saw you pressing buttons on your phone, were you texting?
Driver: No, I pressed the call answer button to answer a hands-free call. I know, I was still distracted by the conversation, but I am allowed to do that.
Officer: Ok, you're free to go, concentrate on your conversation and drive safely.



I don't buy it.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:15 PM   #23
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Considering you've never been pulled over, and are paranoid about it, you really have nothing to worry about.

I've been pulled over more times than I can count. Only 2 tickets to show for it, lots of warnings.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:17 PM   #24
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I'm still interested in hearing an officer's perspective on this.

I was watching someone today struggle to keep her car in the lane while reading from a map - surely having a navigation app running on a smartphone would have been safer, no?
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:46 PM   #25
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i've tried navigating with a smartphone before - the screen is too small too small, and the buttons don't work well to navigate. It's good if you have a turn by turn navigation system, but you can't navigate on the fly.

and while using a map isn't illegal - struggling to keep your car in the lane while reading the map should get you a "driving without due care and attention" ticket.
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