Alberta, CA -- A.J. Daoust was minding his own business, hadn't caused harm to anyone, and simply wanted a quick meal when he was targeted by Alberta's finest as an easy mark for extortion.
As Daoust was waiting in line at a Tim Horton's Drive-thru in Beaumont, he received a text message, naturally he replied. Sitting in a drive-thru and texting, even to the most staunch anti-distracted driving advocates, is considered entirely harmless as you are most likely stopped while doing so.
However, according to a Beaumont cop, Daoust was placing the entire planet in danger when he sent out that digital message.
“I was just sitting there and I got a text, I replied to it….” said Daoust. But when he lifted up that phone, he broke the law.
According to the law, the use of a cellphone is prohibited on ‘any’ thoroughfare, public or private that the public is ordinarily entitled to use for the passage of vehicles.
So, after he paid for his food, an officer came knocking at Daoust's window and told him to pull over. He was then issued a $287 ticket for distracted driving -- while in a drive thru.
“To me, this is ridiculous. It’s just kind of heavy-handed,” said Daoust, and he's right.
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No one likes a distracted driver, and, indeed, they are a danger on the roadways. However, texting while in the drive-thru lane is entirely benign, even the officer knows this.
When news of a man getting a ticket in a drive-thru for texting broke in the local media, the town, rightly so, became outraged. So, like all police departments do when facing public scrutiny, the Beaumont RCMP attempted to justify this ticket by smearing the target of their extortion.
“Of course when you hear one side only you think, are you serious?” Cpl. Tim Dunlap said. “There’s a little bit more to the story than just him sitting there minding his own business and getting a ticket.”
The "little bit more" that Dunlap mentions about is Daoust's reaction when the officer threatened him with a fine for texting in the drive-thru.
“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,” explains Daoust.
Of course, anyone in their righrt mind would likely be furious if they were in Daoust's position. Because Daoust chose to voice his discontent over his state-sponsered harrassment for texting in a parking lot, the officer decided to 'use his descretion' and extort the otherwise completely innocent motorist.
“Because of the way the conversation went the officer decided, ‘you know what, I’m not going to give him a break after all, I’m going to give him a ticket,'” explained Dunlap.
$287 dollars later, society is that much safer.