Ottawa Coun. Darouze asks police for ticket after texting while driving on-camera

Click to play video 'Video shows Ottawa councillor texting while driving in middle of committee meeting' Video shows Ottawa councillor texting while driving in middle of committee meeting
Osgoode Coun. George Darouze was seen driving while texting during an Ottawa audit committee meeting on Nov. 24. He apologized for the incident afterwards on Facebook – Nov 24, 2020

An Ottawa councillor says he presented himself to police Wednesday morning to ask for a ticket after he was caught on camera texting and driving during a city committee meeting the day before.

Osgoode Coun. George Darouze was seen getting into his car and driving during the livestream of Tuesday morning’s audit committee. He was observed texting and driving during the full two-minute clip, after which he turned off his camera.

In a statement released Wednesday morning before Ottawa’s city council meeting, Darouze called the incident a “poor decision,” following up on a Facebook post Tuesday where he called it a “stupid thing to do.”

Read more: Distracted driving is No. 1 cause of deaths on Ontario roads

“Instead of keeping my eyes on the road, I engaged in texting while driving. I realize these actions were in poor judgement, and I’m disappointed in myself for this behaviour. I know some of you are upset with me and I am truly sorry,” he said in his statement.

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Darouze said he went to the Leitrim Police Station on Wednesday morning to provide a statement and ask for a fine of $615 for violating the Highway Traffic Act.

Darouze said he hopes by paying the fine that “others can learn” from his experience.

Ottawa police confirmed to Global News that a charge and a fine in that amount were issued in relation to the video on Wednesday.

Darouze’s actions during the audit committee provoked a strong reaction from observers online and some of his colleagues on city council.

“Inattention to what you’re doing while driving can easily kill or maim. Texting and driving is irresponsible and can destroy a life in an instant. I’m glad Councillor Darouze is taking responsibility for this,” wrote Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper on Twitter on Wednesday.

Just last week, Leiper posted a video to Twitter showing a truck driver nearly cutting him off while he was cycling downtown to illustrate the dangers of inattentive driving.