Don't Text in the Drive Thru or You’ll Pay the Price

By Mike Pomranz |

© Onzeg / Getty Images

At this point the statistics paint a clear picture: texting and driving is a bad idea. But what if you’re just hanging out behind the wheel – like at a fast food drive thru? A Canadian man claims he was popped for just that – given a $287 ticket for texting while driving while waiting in line at a Tim Horton’s. Though the Canadian police say there’s more to the story.

A.J Daoust said the citation was “ridiculous” and “heavy-handed” after, he claims, “I was just sitting there and I got a text, I replied to it…” Of course, if that’s true, I’m sure many people would agree with him, but according to CBC News, the local police paint a different picture.

“The officer actually saw the guy texting before he got to the drive-thru ... which just happened to be where the interaction happened,” Beaumont RCMP Cpl. Tim Dunlap told the Canadian news agency. “Once in the drive-thru, Daoust was texting with both hands and steering with his knees when forced to move forward.”

Additionally, Dunlap says Daoust wasn’t particularly eloquent when pleading his case. “The gentleman was not very nice, everything from name calling to actually giving him the middle finger.”

Daoust say he plans to dispute the ticket, attempting to see if he can get it reduced.

Regardless of who you believe in this “he said, he said” argument, the whole incident does hammer home an important point: In some Canadian provinces at least, you can legally be cited for texting while driving in a drive thru. The law prohibits the use of cellphones while behind the wheel on “any road, highway or thoroughfare, whether publicly or privately owned,” as the CBC paraphrases it.

What about in the US? Well, laws vary by state, but in New York, for example, use on a public highway (granted, not a drive thru) is prohibited even “including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.” No mention of Tim Horton’s though. That’s more of a Canadian thing.

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