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Using your phone in the drive-thru? You could get a ticket

Last Updated May 11, 2019 at 9:10 pm PDT

(Source: iStock)

If you rely on your phone to order fast food, you could be stuck with a distracted driving ticket

A video posted online this week shows a Surrey RCMP officer targeting drivers in a McDonalds drive-thru

A lawyer says going after people in drive-thrus is 'ridiculous'

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — A craving for hot fries and a burger may land you in trouble if you’re caught using an app while going to a drive-thru.

A recent video posted on Twitter shows a Surrey RCMP officer approaching drivers at a fast food restaurant, targeting someone who was apparently using a phone while driving.

Mounties said on Twitter they don’t target drivers using phones in drive-thrus, and they were following up on an “unrelated investigation” at the McDonalds when they approached the driver. The driver was given a warning.

“Officers were in the area following up on an unrelated investigation when they observed this driver on their phone. They were not conducting targeted enforcement in the drive-thru,” reads a tweet.

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But going after people using phones in the drive-thru isn’t out of the question.

“Under the BC Motor Vehicle Act, parking lots and drive thrus are considered part of the road way, and are subject to enforcement of the BC Motor Vehicle Act which prohibits the use of electronic devices while driving,” reads another tweet by Surrey RCMP.

Ticketing in drive-thru ‘ridiculous’: lawyer

Even so, Lawyer Kyla Lee with Acumen Law calls the situation “ridiculous” and “bizarre,” adding many customers rely on apps to get their food.

“Technology that’s used at drive-thrus allows people to pay using their phones, allows people to order on the app while they’re waiting for their food in the drive-thru area, so they don’t have to sit parked in an idling vehicle for that long,” she says.

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The fact the incident happened on private property also plays a part, she says, adding the public’s perception of police may be affected.

“The Motor Vehicle Act provisions are meant to deal with the public safety concern of posing a risk because they’re distracted by their electronic devices, not people who are waiting to either order at a window, or order on their phones,” she says.

“They’re not moving while looking at their phones, it’s not high-speed moving traffic and likely to rear-end another person. It’s doesn’t fulfill the purposes of the prohibition on the electronic device while driving legislation.”

Mounties have since responded, saying the driver was given a verbal warning, and no ticket was issued.

McDonalds is also weighing in, saying they don’t recommend people use their phones while in the drive-thru.

– With files from Lauren Boothby