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It Turns Out Texting While in a Drive-Thru Line Is Illegal and Life Isn't Fair

Shit went down last week in an Alberta location of Tim Hortons and before you ask, no, Alan Thicke wasn’t involved. At least not this time.
Photo via Flickr user Open Grid Scheduler

Shit went down last week in an Alberta location of Tim Hortons and before you ask, no, Alan Thicke wasn't involved. At least not this time.

AJ Daoust is a Canadian carpenter who was left furiously scratching his head after he was ticketed by police for texting in a drive-thru lane at his local Beaumont Tim Hortons restaurant. You heard right: Daoust wasn't ticketed for texting while driving on a highway, or even a local street. Or even while pulling into the drive-thru. He says he simply responded to a text while waiting in the line itself. And that was a mistake that probably made his trip one of the most expensive in drive-thru history.


"If we're sitting, waiting for coffee, I think we should be able to just check our phones right there in the drive-thru," Daoust said. You'd think. "To me, this is ridiculous. It's just kind of heavy-handed," he said.

While Daoust believes that the $287 fine he received last Thursday is both "ridiculous" and "heavy-handed," local authorities stand by the action. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Tim Dunlap says that in addition to reviewing the notes on the incident, he spoke to the responding officer and completely stands by his actions. "The officer actually saw the guy texting before he got to the drive-thru … which just happened to be where the interaction happened," Corporal Dunlap explained.

READ: This Lady Was Pulled Over for the Crime of Drinking Coffee While Driving

Furthermore, according to Dunlap, Daoust was texting with both hands and driving his vehicle with his knees, forcing the officer to intervene. "Other drivers are looking at him and looking at the officer, looking back at him, throwing their hands up like, 'Don't you see this? Why aren't you doing something?'"

So, was Daoust ticketed before he reached the drive-thru or in the drive-thru itself? Was he actually moving while texting, or simply waiting for his coffee? Daoust and the arresting officer clearly differ on these points.

It may not matter, in the end, though. Distracted driving laws, in both Canada and the US, are often quite open-ended—on purpose. Keeping the law kind of vague gives law enforcement the ability to pull people over when their driving is "distracted" in all kinds of ways. We told you recently about a young lady who was pulled over for the crime of drinking coffee while driving. Too distracting, said the arresting officer. And, as Fox News points out, the Canadian legislation in question "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."

Where's a driver to text in a world where line's have been so blurred?