Teen Gets Hefty Fine for Using Phone in the McDonald's Drive-Thru

A Saskatoon driver warns against using your fast-food app in the drive-thru. A quest for a free meal via an app led to an unexpected expense.

Mason Prima shared his ordeal with CTV News. He was ticketed by a motorcycle cop while navigating the McDonald’s drive-thru in Saskatoon. “I’m barely even moving. I pull up my app and look at the rear-view mirror and there’s a motorcycle cop behind me,” Prima recounted.

He thought using the app to claim his free lunch through reward points was harmless. Then, an officer approached his window, leading to an expensive consequence. "I did think he was just going to let me go because I’m just trying to get a free meal, but no, turns out to be a very expensive lunch,” Prima explained.

Prima described the situation as a catch-22, requiring the app to order, something McDonald's staff routinely asks for. “I was kind of shocked to be honest. I’ve never had that before — I open up my app every time I go over to drive-thru and I’ve never had that issue,” he said.

The Saskatchewan RCMP provided a different perspective. They confirmed that Prima was driving while using a cellphone. "The individual was observed driving a vehicle on a public roadway while using a cellphone. A Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan RCMP officer initiated a traffic stop with the individual," the RCMP stated.

Brian Pfefferle, a local criminal defense lawyer, commented on the legal ambiguity regarding technology use. “I feel for the individual that was charged here. If he was literally in the … drive-thru area and not on a public roadway,” he said to CTV News.

Pfefferle also noted that many people likely use their phones in similar situations. “I would venture to guess that a great majority of people would utilize their cellphones in lineups such as that and it shouldn’t be considered illegal, but it’s obviously debatable,” he added.

The lawyer questioned the charge, given Prima's specific circumstances. Meanwhile, Prima, a relatively new driver with minimal infractions, stressed his usual caution. “I didn’t have my foot on the gas or brake. It was just rolling. Barely moving,” he said.

Despite RCMP's claims, Prima is determined to contest the fine. Facing a $580 ticket, this significant sum and the potential demerits on his license are concerning for the 18-year-old.

Prima is adamant about not deserving the fine and is gearing up for his court day on July 31.