Staffing the social media channels I hear all sorts of horror stories that drivers see behind the wheel. And being a frequent road user myself, I’ve seen my fair share too.
In fact, a few weeks ago a dark grey SUV may have gotten a call from Police had I been able to see their license plate underneath all the snow – another infraction of the Traffic Safety Act in addition to the four other offences I witnessed in driving behind them for five blocks.
But maybe you see something else. Maybe you’re driving down 8th Street East and you look to your right and the driver is on their cell phone. Or maybe you’re heading down Circle Drive through the Clarence Avenue construction zone and you’re easily being passed by other motorists. Or maybe you’re the driver that’s towing the line in school zones just to have another motorist following too closely, impatient for you to speed up.
All situations are pretty frustrating when you’re obeying the law yourself, right?
Well, you’re not alone. The horror stories that we hear about behind the wheel and witness on a daily basis cause us to shake our heads too. The only difference is that we’re equipped with a ticket book, and we have the authority to use it. I know I’ve seen plenty of people on social media who wish they were equipped with the same book and had the same authority on their morning and afternoon commutes.
Well, I’m here to tell you that while you may not have the ticket book, I’ve found many people don’t know they DO have the ability to report traffic infractions the same as they have the ability to report a break and enter, an assault, or a robbery.
In a perfect world, we want all the details – a license plate, where it took place, a vehicle description, time of day, date of occurrence, driver description – anything we would write in a police report basically. Realizing that’s a lot to take down in a split’s moment notice, if you think you have enough descriptors for us to base an investigation on, we want you to report it to Police. All you need to do is come to the Service Centre at Police Headquarters and leave a written witness statement for us to get started.
**Note that a license plate is imperative to an investigation as a starting point.
With summary offence tickets (SOT’s), the technical term for traffic violations, Police officers are the witness to the infraction. That is why if the offender disagrees with the ticket and fights it in court, the officer will be called as a witness to the infraction. It’s important to understand that should someone challenge a ticket based on your witness statement, there is a chance you could be called to court to testify.
This wouldn’t always be the case and we can’t guarantee that every complaint reported to us will result in a ticket, but by educating people about this option, we want motorists to realize that it’s not just Police they have watching them on the roads, but each other too.