Just when they thought they had seen everything, Vancouver traffic officers were faced with a strange sight after pulling over a driver for wearing headphones.
The driver was spotted travelling south on Cambie Street near West Broadway around noon Wednesday.
As one of the officers approached the vehicle, he saw the driver had attached his phone to his steering wheel with a piece of string, and wedged his tablet between the wheel and the phone. The headphones were plugged into the phone.
After a lengthy conversation about proper road safety, the driver was given an $81 ticket for failing to produce a driver’s licence, and removed his electronics display from the steering wheel.
Vancouver police said the officer decided education was the best course of action in this instance, rather than enforcing the standard $368 penalty for distracted driving.
While the province says it has made rules tougher on distracted drivers, it’s still up to police to punish those who break the law.
That’s according to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, who issued a statement in response to this incident saying “enforcement decisions are at the discretion of the police, not government.”
He also notes distracted driving is a factor in more than a quarter of all fatal crashes in B.C.
WATCH: Vancouver police heard some jaw-dropping excuses as they wrote out some 2,000 tickets for distracted driving last month. Tanya Beja reports.
But criminal lawyer Paul Doroshenko says police are often there to educate drivers, not just penalize them.
“Clearly they’re using this person as an example of a concern they’ve got of people using electronic device while driving and in the end, you know, you’ve got to think the humiliation of having this all over the internet is a far greater deterrent than a ticket would ever be,” he said.
Doroshenko says if the driver was ticketed for having their controls obstructed, they’d likely have no defense.
But it is possible the devices could be considered firmly affixed in the vehicle as is required.
With files from Kyle Benning and Liza Yuzda