A screen grab from a video shows a Surrey RCMP officer approaching a car in a McDonalds drive-thru in Surrey. (Submitted)

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP officer’s distracted driving warning at drive-thru sparks outrage online

Police say it was just a ‘quick reminder’ for driver who was on phone before pulling into drive-thru

Surrey Mounties say they are not targeting motorists in fast-food drive-thrus for distracted driving and ticketing them for being on their cell phones.

Nevertheless, social media is abuzz after video surfaced of a Surrey RCMP approaching the driver of a vehicle in a McDonald’s drive-thru.

On May 8, Twitter user @DrDangles87 posted a video of a Mountie walking through a parking lot and up to a vehicle going through the drive-thru. The Twitter user asked if RCMP is “actually out here ticketing people for using their phones at a drive thru.”

“Is this a joke? This is harrassment,” the Tweet reads.

Surrey RCMP responded saying this happened two weeks ago, and the officer “issued a verbal warning to the driver after observing them allegedly using a device while driving prior to entering the drive thru area.”

Police said a ticket was not issued.

The officer, Surrey RCMP said, was in the area “following up on an unrelated investigation.”

“They were not conducting targeted enforcement in the drive-thru.”

Corporal Elenore Sturko told the Now-Leader the incident arose from something “that didn’t have anything to do with the drive-thru.”

She said two officers were in the area investigating something else and were pulling into the McDonald’s parking lot when they saw a motorist, prior to being in the drive-thru, talking on a cell phone.

“The person drove right by them talking on the phone,” she said. “The person was chatting on their phone. They weren’t in there targeting, they just saw a person drive by on their phone.”

Sturko said they told the motorist what they were doing was illegal, as a “quick reminder.”

“It is standard practise for an officer who sees someone committing a dangerous act like talking on a cellphone to engage with members of the public and make the decision at the time whether, based on their discretion what they’ve observed, whether they would issue a ticket or a warning.

“In this case they had observed a person who was in violation of the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act by operating an electronic device while driving, and could have received a pretty hefty fine, but instead opted to give that person just a warning,” Sturko said. “Regardless of the fact that it’s a drive-thru or a parking lot, under the Motor Vehicle Act those are considered part of the roadway and still subject to enforcement of the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act.”

That said, she added, “I can tell you that officers are not targetting drive-thrus. We are not targeting drive-thrus.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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