Calgary Police Giving Out Bluetooth Headsets Instead of Tickets?
Yup, you read that right. The Calgary police force were out this morning doing something very interesting,and awesome, to help raise awareness of the new distracted driving law that took affect this morning. In conjunction with Cjay92 and AutoTemp Air & Sound Inspector LaGrange, and Reddawg from CJay 92 were out and looking for those violating the law. Instead of issuing them a $172.00 ticket they were issued an education and a blue tooth head set. “Everyone of the people we stopped knew why they were being stopped and were very shocked and grateful to be getting a bluetooth headset instead of a ticket” LaGrange told me in a telephone interview.
According to CJAY92′s Facebook Page they “pulled over a women who was eating and swerving, a guy talking on his cellphone, and a women who was texting and driving”. CJay 92′s Forbes and Friends Morning show say they had a blast doing this with the CPS today. And who wouldn’t!? “the CPS were incredibly nice to work with, thanks Kev, Rick, and Dean” Gerry Forbes, host of Forbes And Friends, posted on the show’s Facebook.
This was a great opportunity for the Calgary police service to educate the public while at the same time making it clear that this is the new law and it is in place for the safety of everyone on the road. “We thought it was Just a great way to drive the point home to talk to them about education and reward them with a tool to improve habits” says LaGrange ” We don’t intend to have a zero tolerance policy what we want to focus on is a change in this culture we have” LaGrange talked to me about how we’ve all created a culture of instant communication and we’ve lost any balance we had. Balance is needed and soon this will evolve just like the seat belt law did when it first came into effect. “People did not like the seat belt law when that took effect but soon it became second nature to them.”
There is no doubt about it we have created a culture of instantaneous communication where we expect ourselves and everyone else to be available all the time. Would it really be the end of the world if we had to wait until we were all the way to work to open that work related email? Updated our Facebook status about the stupid drivers on the road that have already managed to grind our gears that morning? Or text our BFF this crazy thing we just saw happen? Probably not.
I for one am glad that the Calgary police service have every intention of ticketing people who are a danger to themselves and others on the road because of their texting, personal grooming, and other activities they do behind the wheel.
I asked Inspector LaGrange if he thought the new law would change people’s behaviour and in fact make our roads safer as there have been studies suggesting this is not the case. “Time will tell if it impacts safety on the streets, the thing is we will never know the what if. ” Would a drunk driver who was pulled over and arrested have killed someone if they hadn’t been caught? “Even if it saves one person’s life, or stops the millions in property damage each year, it’s worth it.” Given that this law is one of the toughest in North America and doesn’t just ban cell phone use, it will be interesting to see some follow up studies and statistics in the future. Will the extra restrictions in fact make a difference?
For now he says that this weekend will be business as usual. That if you are caught blatantly breaking the law you will be issued a ticket,if you are caught drinking and driving you will be charged. He says that CPS aren’t going to be popping out from behind trees at you, and they won’t be issuing tickets because you are drinking a coffee. They want to catch people who are doing dangerous things behind the wheel: texting, plucking nose haris, reading etc. They don’t want to clog up the courts with people fighting tickets for sipping a coffee anymore then you want to take time off work to go fight the ticket for sipping a coffee.
I know that as far as I am concerned I will be leaving my cell phone on silent mode and in my bag so as to remove any temptation I may have at taking a look at my phone at red lights. I know many others are doing the same thing so I think it’s fair to say that the deterrence has had some effect, at least so far. LaGrange had some good advice for citizens “turn it off when you get in the car, turn it on when you get out of the car”.