‘Fast-food’ and ‘food on the go’ was taken to a whole new level in British Columbia recently when a ramen eating Kelowna woman was busted by police for speeding along a highway while eating ramen noodles with chopsticks! While it is not explicitly against the law to eat while driving, the choice of food and the utensils used were determined to be potentially distracting and dangerous, and the woman was issued with a pretty hefty fine!
To most of us, attempting to drive along a four-lane highway at high speeds, while eating ramen with chopsticks, sounds like pretty hard work. However, the defendant Corrine Jackson claimed that she was more-than handling the situation.
According to reports from CBC News, Jackson claimed to have one hand positioned on the steering wheel at all times while holding the bowl, and said the other hand was used to maneuver her eating utensils.
However, judicial justice Brian Burgess was not satisfied with this defense, explaining that any “reasonable and prudent person” should have at least one hand on the wheel of a moving vehicle at all times.
Burgess noted that the ‘three fingers’ that Jackson claimed to be driving the car with was not acceptable, and accused her of taking a risk with her own life, as well as the lives of others.
In an unusually bizarre coincidence, approximately one year earlier, British Columbia Police shared a photo on their Twitter account, showing a woman eating noodles with chopsticks as part of a distracted driving campaign.
In their Twitter post, the B.C. RCMP wrote, “(Do you know) you can't eat a bowl of soup while driving? Drive without due care=$368 Fine + 6 points."
At the time of the post, a number of Canadians responded to double-check what the actual rules of the road are, with many users unsure as to what kind of food is allowed to be eaten while driving.
The tweet ended up causing so much confusion, that the RCMP were forced to clarify the issue in the KelownaNow newspaper. An officer explained, "Obviously the tweet depicted a very exaggerated situation."
She added, "There is no blanket statement such as if you eat noodles and drive it will equal this. It's all very dependent on the situation the officer sees."
For Jackson, it was decided that her driving was “without due care and attention,” and she was handed a considerable fine for her ramen-munching.
This isn’t the first time a Canadian driver has been in trouble with the police for on-the-road snacking, after a Halton driver was caught eating poutine with two hands, right in the middle of rush hour traffic! This driver was also given a careless driving ticket, and was scolded by police for behaving dangerously.
The maximum fine under the Motor Vehicle Act in British Columbia is $2,000, but most tickets for distracted driving are $368. Jackson has until the end of October to pay her fine.
Next time you’re thinking of digging into your dinner on the drive home, it may be worth waiting! It could end up being a pretty expensive take-out!