A Canadian man is demanding an apology and refusing to pay a $175 ticket issued by police for not wearing a seatbelt, since he has no arms and can’t fasten it unassisted. Steven Simonar from Saskatoon was pulled over in a routine police spot check last Friday. The RCMP officer who stopped him noticed he was not wearing his seatbelt, so Simonar explained he can’t fasten it when driving alone.
Simonar says he was asked for his license and registration, so he stepped out of the car and asked the officer to retrieve the documents from his pocket. He says the RCMP officer was prepared to let him go, but a Saskatoon Police Service sergeant overseeing the operation instructed him to issue a ticket. “The guy looked like he was having a bad day ... trying to push his authority around,” Simonar said. “He became very ignorant, and said, ‘Well if he can’t put his seatbelt on maybe he shouldn’t be driving.’ That’s what really made me mad.”
Simonar, 55, lost his arms in an accident some 28 years ago. He was hauling a sailboat out of a lake when the boat’s mast struck an overhead power line, electrocuting him through the arms and flinging him to the ground. “Electricity burns from the inside out, so they really don’t know the damage until it has run its course,” he said. “Five or six operations later … they had to take my arms right off.” The accident has not kept Simonar from driving. He has rigged five vehicles - including a four-wheel ATV - with a special wheel and stirrup that allow him to steer with his left foot.
While he has been pulled over before, Simonar said he has never been treated this way. “It never dawned on me I’d get a ticket, because I’ve been stopped numerous times and I’ve never had an issue,” he said. “You just have to look once to figure it out.” Simonar has been asked by the police to visit the station Wednesday to discuss the issue. “I’ll go to jail over this - I am not paying that ticket,” he said. Saskatoon Police spokesperson Alyson Edwards said people with disabilities must have the correct paperwork to avoid fines while driving.