Albertan Gets a $287 Ticket for Texting in Tim Hortons Drive-Thru

Tim horton

A.J. Daoust from Alberta has been issued a nearly $300 ticket for using his mobile phone while waiting in line at a Tim Hortons’ drive-thru, CTV News is reporting. While saying that the police officer’s actions were “heavy-handed”, the Albertan explained that a police officer knocked on his window, asked him to pull over, and gave him a $287 ticket after he replied to a text message while waiting for his coffee at a Beaumont, Alta., Tim Hortons.

“I said, ‘In a drive-thru? Really?'” Daoust told CTV Edmonton. “He was definitely within his rights…but to me this is ridiculous. It’s just kind of heavy-handed.” 

Jeff Kasbrick, vice president of government and stakeholder relations at Alberta Motor Association, said it’s up the discretion of the police officer when to issue a ticket.

“There’s the classic, that we see all the time, which is at a red light people will sometimes pull out their cell phones,” Kasbrick said. “That’s considered a distraction.”

According to the Alberta Highway Traffic Act, drivers are not allowed to use a hand-held cell phone, text or email while behind the wheel. The legislation applies to drivers on publicly and privately-owned property that drivers are permitted to use for the passage or parking of vehicles.

“It’s stupid,” Daoust said. “It didn’t have to happen, but I guess that’s how it goes”. He added that he may try to have the ticket fine reduced in court.

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  • hub2

    “it’s up the discretion of the police officer when to issue a ticket.”

    Expect a rash of discretionary abuse now that Apple Pay is in Canada, as drivers are ticketed when tapping to pay at the drive-thru. It’s handling a mobile device while operating a vehicle, after all.

  • MrXax

    Even on privately-owned property?? That’s truly insane.

  • It will really pay to use Apple Pay!

  • I’d go to the court and argue that since the intent of the fine is to increase public safety and in this instance, the driver assessed there being no risk in texting in a drive thru and therefore the fine was contrary to the intent of the regulation.

  • Shameer Mulji

    Talk about sheer stupidity. Nothing but a cash grab. Not like he was on public streets and driving.

  • Jesse

    I was about to bring Apple Pay up!

  • pegger1

    The Tim Horton’s mobile app has allowed you to pay for a while now. He should use that as his defence.

  • Peter

    That’s why you should never idle while waiting in drive through. 10 cars in front of you and still idling.

  • KIII

    If Apple works out the pay person to person he would have been able to pay the ticket to the officer. ????????????

  • hub2

    That probably won’t hold weight. This story on a different site had someone comment that just that morning he saw two drivers exchanging insurance info just at the exit of a drive thru, so public safety concerns while in a drive-thru line are still valid.

  • andrez1

    This is one of those times I would support the posting of the officer’s name. Let “karma” take care of him.

  • hub2

    Problem is that a drive thru line doesn’t often stay stationary long enough to make turning off the vehicle worth it, due to gas spent restarting the engine. The order could be 10 seconds for a coffee, or three freaking minutes ordering a whole meal for four, with requested changes to ingredients. You just can’t predict ahead of time.

    I’ve read that the break even point between idling and shutting down is somewhere between 20 and 30 seconds, i.e. if you know the light you’re stopped at will be at least a minute before it turns green, by all means turn the car off (not 100% sure on how legal that is, though I do it myself on really long red lights). And I always laugh at drivers idling while waiting in line to fill up at a gas station.

  • Mozbius

    I applaud you! Knowledge is power! People you would be surprised how often cops will knowingly and unknowingly apply rules incorrectly!!!! Know your rights! Cause otherwise WILL make you pay dearly for your lack of knowledge.

  • FragilityG4

    Where is the part of the story where Tim Hortons offers to pay the ticket …….

  • Bafoon

    why not? distracted driving when using a mobile device, and backing onto a driveway with kids playing is a huge issue – don’t you think?

  • Bafoon

    why so? this is a case of distracted driving – his car was running, he was behind the wheel, possibly had cars ahead or behind him, and was using a mobile device. End of story – when you break the rules, you must pay for it.

    Was it a tough break – absolutely, was it stupidity – absolutely not!

  • Bafoon

    and what karma would that be exactly?

  • Bafoon

    yeah, its all great and dandy – when a cop uses the rules to justify a punishment. Yet, if that weren’t to happen, and this idiot driver ran over a pedestrian or by mistake hit the gas and hit the car ahead – people would be up at arms baying for his blood.

  • sully54

    Laws apply equally everywhere, on private or public property. that’s like asking if theft is still illegal if committed on private property. see how nonsensical that starts to sound?

  • sully54

    The law is pretty clear on this. distracted driving is not tolerated anywhere. not sure why people are up in arms over this.

  • Knowledgeman

    You think you sound smart but you forgot to look up the definition of “highway”… Drive thru is a highway buddy

  • xxxJDxxx

    This is getting ridiculous. should we start fining drivers for reading billboards? Looking around at a traffic light? Trying to spot an address while driving down a residential street? We are turning the cellphone into a real scapegoat.

    If we are going to seriously start fining people for glancing at the time or picking their phone up in a drive thru, shouldn’t we also start fining people any time their eyes wander from the road for any reason?

  • andrez1

    Maybe someone will catch him doing something wrong, on video. Maybe Tim’s will mess up his coffee order. Maybe his wife will withhold favours. Maybe another cop will ticket him for something. Sometimes karma needs help, but it usually kicks in.

  • Luke

    I’m not you buddy, go hit the books. Traffic engineering if my field so take a hike!

  • Mozbius

    You got a point. But the fact remains that cops will often apply rules as THEY see fit. At the end of the day if you’re not guilty of offending a law you should not be punished for abiding to it either.

  • Luke

    Well it appears I stand corrected. Nonetheless, a rude response warrants the same in return. Alberta’s TSA differs from Ontario’s HTA in the sense that the term “highway” is used to classify a wide range of things:

    (p) “highway” means any thoroughfare, street, road, trail,
    avenue, parkway, driveway, viaduct, lane, alley, square,
    bridge, causeway, trestleway or other place or any part of
    any of them, whether publicly or privately owned, that the
    public is ordinarily entitled or permitted to use for the
    passage or parking of vehicles and includes
    (i) a sidewalk, including a boulevard adjacent to the
    (ii) if a ditch lies adjacent to and parallel with the
    roadway, the ditch, and
    (iii) if a highway right of way is contained between
    fences or between a fence and one side of the
    roadway, all the land between the fences, or all the
    land between the fence and the edge of the roadway,
    as the case may be,
    but does not include a place declared by regulation not to
    be a highway;

    unlike the HTA:

    “highway” includes a common and public highway, street, avenue, parkway, driveway, square, place, bridge, viaduct or trestle, any part of which is intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles and includes the area between the lateral property lines thereof; (“voie publique”)

    Nothing to do with thinking I’m smart, just trying to help based on experience.

  • Jay

    Moral of the story: Dont get between a cop and his doughnuts

  • Jay

    Cause he’s not really driving…. its like he’s parked

  • MrXax

    Uh no, they are clearly not comparable.

  • Luke
  • Lol

  • Kael

    On that note, there is no Stop sign at the end of the drive through line. You could ticket people for obstructing traffic. It’s setup as a lane.

  • sully54

    Why not? If I commit a theft in my neighbour’s house it’s against the law. Ergo, if I break distracted driving laws in a Tim Hortons drive thru, I’m still breaking the law. The law doesn’t stipulate where distracted driving must occur to be illegal, all it says is that if you’re behind the wheel and distracted (ie: texting) then that’s breaking the law.

    I’m not saying I agree with the law. If I were this guy, I would dispute this ticket (chances are if he did, it would get dismissed since police officers are too busy to attend court hearings anyway). But as it stands the law is pretty clear in this instance.

  • sully54

    He wasnt driving but he is operating a motor vehicle. Alberta makes a distinction between a distracted driving violation (ie: when stationary at a stop) and a moving violation, which is a double whammy offence.

  • shaqrad

    He broke the law. Consider that he could be looking at his cell phone and the person ahead moves forward and then needs to stop. Even being partially distracted he could have hit the person ahead of him thinking the lines moving. There is no place for a cell phone behind the wheel. Period

  • Bafoon

    do you feel a little silly now? given the latest reports?

  • Bafoon

    do you feel a little silly now? given the latest report?

  • Bafoon

    lol karma? feeling a little silly now?

  • xxxJDxxx

    Not at all. I stick by it. Just because the specifics of this case changed it doesn’t change how I feel about this issue at all.

  • Bafoon

    oh I’m sorry – you’re saying you side with a lying POS who put others life in danger – and hence was caught and rightly punished for doing so. Okay then.

  • xxxJDxxx

    No. I’m saying the issue is bigger than this specific case. My statement was about the issue in general, not this specific incident.