Distracted driver leaves Vernon RCMP shaking their heads

Man caught stopped at busy traffic intersection behind wheel with cell phone in one hand, open beer can in the other...

Having his hands full while driving cost a Vernon man nearly $400.

An officer from the North Okanagan Traffic Services could not believe his eyes when he pulled up to the traffic lights at 32nd Street and 43rd Avenue one night last week, at about 6:30 p.m.

“The officer noticed a Dodge pick-up truck stopped in traffic on 32nd Street northbound, and the driver was drinking something from can and on a cell phone, at the same time,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk. “When the driver realized the police officer was watching, he dropped the cell phone. Our member stopped the vehicle in a near-by parking lot.”

The driver – a 30-year-old Vernon man – produced his licence, admitted being on the cell phone, and when he was asked about the drink he produced an open can of Old Milwaukee beer.

“The open pack with 14 remaining cans was located under some clothes on the passenger seat,” said Molendyk.

The driver was issued a $167 ticket for talking on the cell phone while driving, and a $230 ticket for having open liquor in the vehicle.

He passed a roadside sobriety test and was allowed to continue on his way, minus the 14 remaining beer.

The RCMP would like to remind everyone that September is Distracted Driving month.

“Our officers will be paying close attention to people using electronic devices while driving,” said Molendyk. “You must be hands-free while talking on a cell phone with the aid of a blue tooth device.”

For drivers who are operating under restrictions of the “L” or “N,” you are not permitted to use a cell phone at all – not even with a blue tooth device.