Ottawa Police Share the Most Ridiculous Excuses Heard for Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the new ‘drunk driving’, as it’s just not possible to see everything on the road when your head is down responding to texts or surfing the Facebooks.

According to, drivers caught by police for distracted driving spit out some pretty creative excuses for doing so, as noted by the Ottawa Police:

According to the Ottawa Police — which recently issued 70 tickets over one week for distracted driving, and on another saw one officer issue 28 tickets alone in the downtown core — people will outright lie when caught, act ignorant or stupid, and sometimes argue with the officer that they weren’t doing anything illegal.

Here’s a short roundup of some of the most absurd excuses mentioned to police:

  • “I was just checking the time on my phone” — to the officer who noted a wristwatch on the driver and a clock on the car’s dash.
  • “I’m from Toronto, I thought it was only a local law.” (Driving laws are set by the provinces across Canada.)
  • “I don’t have my phone with me,” to the officer who heard a phone start to ring.
  • “I was placing an important bet in Las Vegas on the UFC.”
  • “I wasn’t using the phone, I was only checking my GPS for navigation.” (Police say this is a frequent response.)
  • “My dad could buy you,” to the Abbotsford, B.C., police officer who responded: “Get him to buy two of me, I could use the help.”
  • “It was my boss on the phone — I had to answer it.” Police report similar “had to answer” excuses for girlfriend, boyfriend, mother, wife, husband, work — even wedding planner.
  • “Sorry officer, I didn’t see you trying to pull me over because I was on my phone.”

Troy Froats, a constable with the Ottawa Police traffic unit, says despite fines, “we’re still seeing it every single day,” noting their “Leave the Phone Alone” awareness campaign seems to be working, with plans to extend the program to the local health unit and more schools.

To resist the temptation to use your phone while driving, Froats suggests putting it in the backseat, trunk or glove box. Other ways to prevent being distracted by your phone include enabling AirPlane Mode, or turning it off. Passengers should call out their driver if they see them reaching for their phone, and take responsibly for their own safety.

Harsher distracted driving penalties recently kicked into effect in B.C.; in the N.W.T., tickets now come with the possibility of license suspensions. During Canada Road Safety Week last month, Winnipeg police handed out 1,300 tickets.

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