EDMONTON, Alberta — We’re all well aware of the dangers of texting while behind the wheel — but many drivers still do it, especially when stopped or when they’re not on the road. A Canadian man replied to a text message while waiting in a drive thru lane, and he was ticketed as a result.
A.J. Daoust usually knows what to expect in the Tim Hortons drive thru: Place an order, pay, pick up, and eat.
But recently, something happened that Daoust didn’t see coming.
“I was just sitting there and I got a text. I replied to it,” Daoust said.
After texting the person back, Daoust says a police officer knocked on his window, and asked him to pull over.
Daoust was given a $287 ticket for distracted driving.
“I just asked him like, ‘in a drive thru? Really?'” Daoust said.
Legislation prohibits the use of a phone on any thoroughfare — public or private that the public is ordinarily entitled to use for the passage of vehicles.
“Likely he was definitely within his rights. Like I was, that was against the law,” Daoust said. “To me, this is ridiculous. It’s just kind of heavy-handed.”
“If we’re sitting, waiting for coffee, I think we should be able to just check our phones right there in the drive-thru,” Inga Nazarova said.
Experts say there are several other common scenarios where people are surprised to get “distracted driving” tickets.
“When you’re in a traffic jam and you pull out your cell phone. There’s the classic we see all the time, which is at the red light and people will sometimes pull out their cell phones. That’s considered a distraction,” Jeff Kasbrick, VP of stakeholder relations at AMA said.
Ultimately, distracted driving tickets are up to the discretion of the officer.
Daoust admits he may not have done himself any favors.
“I just couldn’t believe it. At that point I was trying not to be rude, but it just kind of came out after that,” Daoust said.
Daoust says he feels the ticket wasn’t necessary. He won’t fight it — but he says he may try to get it reduced in court.
“It’s stupid. It didn’t have to happen. But I guess that’s how it goes,” Daoust said.