A Connecticut man spent 13 months of his life and what likely amounted to thousands of dollars to prove that a police officer gave him a distracted-driving ticket for eating a McDonald’s hash brown while driving his car.
A judge recently found Jason Stiber not guilty of the distracted driving charges in a legal battle that the defendant’s lawyer amusingly called “the case of the century.”
Stiber was original pulled over back in April of 2018 by Westport, Connecticut Police Cpl. Shawn Wong Won, who stated that he was moving his lips and holding an object that looked like a cellphone to his face while driving a car. Stiber’s lawyer, John Thygerson, argued that his client’s lip movements were “consistent with chewing.”
Because Stiber is truly a man of the people, he took his defence a step further and made a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request to acquire records that revealed Wong was on the 15th hour of a 16-hour double-shift. Stiber argued that Wong’s judgment could have been impaired as a result of the length of time he was on duty.
Stiber’s distracted driving ticket would have amounted to $300 USD.
“That’s why I did it, because I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through this. Other people don’t have the means to defend themselves in the same way,” said Stiber in an interview with The Washington Post.
Canadian distracted driving laws vary between provinces. For example, distracted driving laws in Ontario include a penalty of up to $1,000 CAD, a three-day license suspension and three demerit points.
In British Columbia, on the other hand, the province’s supreme court recently ruled that having a smartphone in sight while behind the wheel is not legally considered distracted driving. That said, the phone must be used in “hands-free” mode. Failure to obey distracted driving laws in British Columbia amount to a maximum fine of $346 and three penalty points.
Source: The Washington Post