With the surge in distracted driving tickets recently in BC, which carries a fine of $386 for first time offenders (and up to $2,000 for repeat offenders), there is one natural question for a Tesla owner – can I be ticketed for distracted driving by using my display? According to the Victoria Police Department, the answer is…maybe?
CHEK TV sat down with Victoria Police Constable Stephen Pannekoek to explain to what drivers can and can’t do behind the wheel. Based on his answers to questions during the interview where they discuss mounted phones, drivers are only being able to touch the phone once to activate or end a call. Anything more than that and they could receive a distracted driving ticket.
Eventually, the topic of Tesla vehicles with their displays came up, and the answer provided by the constable wasn’t very clear. At first, he states that because Tesla’s can’t text (yet), can’t email, and because the screens are set up to restrict what functions are available while driving, you would not get a distracted driving ticket. When pressed by the interviewer about using the map while driving, the constable admits he hasn’t seen one being used and would have to see one in person to determine if it would qualify for a distracted driving ticket.
Since all of the vehicle controls in the Model 3 are accessed using the screen, we should be a little worried that it will be up to the discretion of the officer whether to give a distracted driving ticket. If you’re playing Cuphead or Beach Buggy Racing while stopped in traffic, then yes, you deserve a distracted driving ticket. But if I decide to turn the heat on, change the music, or any of the other basic vehicle controls that are only accessible via the display, that should not warrant a ticket.
If anyone from the Victoria Police Department is reading this, I would be happy to let you use my Model 3 to help determine what would, and wouldn’t be considered distracted driving in BC.
You can watch the full video below. Skip ahead to 2m52s to watch the part about Tesla’s.
Have you received a distracted driving ticket in BC while using the display in your Tesla? Let us know in the comments below.