Ottawa police have laid three charges against a female driver after she was captured on camera texting behind the wheel in late August.
The video of the distracted driver was shot and shared by a motorcyclist, Erik Hanna, who first encountered the SUV being driven by the unidentified woman stopped at an intersection.
The driver allegedly failed to advance when the light turned green, and Hanna began filming using a camera attached to his helmet after he noticed she was staring down at her phone, oblivious to the traffic honking and moving around her.
After attempting to confront her a first time, Hanna moved on, but within a few hundred metres, the SUV abruptly cut him off. That, and an ensuing discussion between the two motorists, was all caught on tape.
Hanna can be heard telling the woman to drive to a police station, and says he will follow.
“I got it all on camera,” he tells her. “You on the phone, you cutting me off, everything.”
Hanna told various local media outlets, including the Ottawa Citizen, that he followed the SUV but eventually stopped because he didn’t feel it was safe to continue. He then handed the footage to police and posted it on Facebook on Aug. 26.
Within days, it had been viewed over 1.5 million times.
On Thursday, Ottawa police announced they had found the mystery driver, in spite of earlier claims that it would be too difficult because her SUV had a Newfoundland and Labrador licence plate.
Among other things, the woman is charged with failing to notify the government of a change of address, although it’s unclear if she now lives in Ottawa.
Police in Ottawa have publicly discouraged people from reporting incidents of cell phone use behind the wheel since the video went viral, saying they simply don’t have enough traffic officers to investigate each case.
Quebec, meanwhile, recently asked the federal government to examine the possibility of criminalizing the use of cellphones while driving after a coroner’s report recommended the Criminal Code be amended.