WATCH: A Greater Victoria woman, who uses a wheelchair, says she was discriminated against by police for driving with steering wheel controls. April Lawrence reports.
Langford’s Megan Hunter has owned her modified van for six years.
She was driving it to work Thursday morning when a police officer pulled her over on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The officer told her she had been spotted driving with a cell phone.
“I said immediately that’s impossible,” she said.
That’s because Hunter, who is in a wheelchair, drives completely with her hands using steering wheel controls.
“I can do all my steering with this one arm,” she explained.
“Then on this side I have acceleration and also braking, all controlled by this one paddle.”
But the officer handed her a $368 distracted driving ticket anyway.
“He said to me I’m not going to go against my partner, what he says goes, you can dispute this, and he walked away,” she said.
“I was distraught, I felt sick, I was so angry because I was feeling I was being discriminated against.”
She says the officer belonged to the CRD’s Integrated Road Safety Unit.
On Friday an IRSU team was conducting a distracted driving blitz on Douglas Street.
They wouldn’t comment on Hunter’s specific case, but explained their process for pulling over distracted driving.
“He gets himself into a position where he can see into the vehicle and see the cell phone in the driver’s hand,” said Const. Scott Seuter, spokesperson for IRSU.
He’s talking about the spotter who then radios to officers down the road.
And Seutter says they must see the cell phone in the driver’s hand.
“When an officer who is in the spotter position radios to us the evidence of what they’re seeing and what they’re doing it’s compelling to me, and unless there’s some extenuating circumstances the violation ticket would be written,” he said.
Megan Hunter would argue her circumstance is more than extenuating, it is simply impossible.
And she hopes something changes before others who drive modified vehicles end up in the same situation.
“I think that they have policy, strict protocol, I understand that, I work for the government, but they need to have some common sense, to look at different situations differently,” said Hunter.
She’s already started the process to dispute the ticket in court.