They did WHAT behind the wheel?!

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?

distracteddriving1

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.

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9 Responses to They did WHAT behind the wheel?!

  1. Carla MacLeod says:

    What a great way to have other “eyes & ears” out there! Although I can imagine all the false accusations! Is this available to the RCMP as well, or do I have to contact them to ask?

    Thanks!

  2. Yolanda says:

    I certainly didn’t realize you could do that. I can’t imagine doing it, though. For starters, the police headquarters includes no parking downtown. That will slow down anyone who doesn’t regularly use the downtown or live close enough to bike or walk down.
    Then there’s the bigger issue. Without enough evidence you can’t convict for serious crimes, let alone stupid petty traffic stuff. Even when it is a simple yard or outbuilding break-in there is never an outcome. If we bother to report it’s for statistics and most of us know that.
    What could change this around is a means of reporting online via mobile. Perhaps a mobile app across platforms, or a mobile web access. Granted it implies people are accessing the web while driving, but really it means when I get to my destination, still fuming and still remembering, I can whip out my smartphone and make a report. If I had the opportunity to snap a shot or video, I could submit it directly. With the right scripts on that site it can even retrieve ID data like name, address, and number from the phone to simplify the filling in process. An agree button should be enough to satisfy the privacy laws.
    I do wish I could offer to build a sample page or the site for you as I know that level of skill doesn’t come cheap, but unfortunately my skills stop at basic CSS2 which is pretty nearly obsolete already.
    Well, I hope I’m wrong and people are thrilled to wander on down to HQ and have a chit chat with their friendly law enforcement about all the other drivers out there.

  3. candi says:

    What I wonder is how often these accusations will be false! I know a lot of people who could make someone else miserable simply saying that person was speeding or on their cell phone. The fact is, this is a nice idea, but in my opinion unless the other person has a video or photo of the accused its pretty unreliable and could cause a lot of trouble for someone over nothing. Not to mention time and money wasted investigating and or court time to fight bogus accusations. There must be a better way.

  4. Tiffany says:

    This is great to know. A few years ago I was in a school zone and had a City truck fly passed me, I would say about 70km in a 30 zone. I was so mad but could do nothing well so I thought. I kept saying in my head the license plate number and time. As i’m watching this city truck I realize it’s turning down the same road I take to go home. I turn the corner to get to my place and the city truck is on my street fixing the road right outside my place so I was also able to get a look at the person driving. I came right inside to the computer went onto the city site and made a complaint. The city did email me back with a few more questions and they told me the person would be disciplined for what had happened. This year I had a saskpower vehicle in a different part of the city speeding as well, and remember I don’t mean a few clicks over its by a lot. I contacted saskpower but there was nothing done about it as far as I know. I do leave my email so they can contact me. I try to keep it safe not just for me but my family and others out there.

  5. Allan says:

    I just tried filing a report with SPS after seeing a person obviously texting and driving. I had their license plate and person/vehicle description. I phoned SPS (10:55 a.m. Feb 8th) and the person at your desk told me the police “need to catch them in the act”. I’m getting mixed messages here!

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  7. Elda says:

    This is great in theory, but it is open to abuse or “revenge.” At 7:30 PM on a super cold, icy February evening two years ago, while travelling in an unfamiliar area of the city, I was tail-gated by an impatient driver, honking at me because I was “only” going the speed limit. I eventually just pulled over to let him/her pass.
    Approximately 10 days later, I received a notice in the mail that I had been reported for “impaired driving.” The officer I spoke to was very polite and all, and, as far as I know, nothing official came of it, but the experience shook me up.
    I wonder how many people have had experiences like mine. It certainly did not make the roads any safer, and it caused quite a kerfuffle in our family.

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