Q&A - Let's Make a Deal

Q&A ImageQuestion: I read through your "How to Deal With a Violation Ticket" and came across your opinion that an offender can contact the enforcement officer directly and talk to him about making a deal for other remedial options like driver training at a driving school to turn a negative thing into a positive reinforcement to become a better driver.

What will be the best approach to take so the enforcement officer agrees to a remedial program like re-training for me or something similar, rather than him rejecting my proposals all together?

What other options can I use? What approach do you think will work in my situation to convince the enforcement officer to scrap the violation ticket and agree to a remedial program or retraining or spend my days-off at the Chilliwack RCMP cells or standing by the roadside with Speed watch volunteers, etc..

Or taking a week off for 3 or 4 conservative weeks from work at a time, refrain from driving my 5 Ton commercial truck & spending this time at the Chiliwack RCMP detachment as a curfew or something.

Or paying either $500 or $1000 into the victims of the crime fund or donating these amounts to the Chilliwack food bank.

It's Up to the Officer Involved

This will all depend on what the officer is comfortable with doing. Generally they are not encouraged to think outside the box and resolve driving issues with anything other than a ticket.

I was very pleased with the outcome of the one instance where I had a driver trade his ticket for driver training and wish that I could have done something like it throughout my traffic enforcement career.

For those drivers who are receptive to the idea I think that the outcome is far better than simply paying the speeding ticket and carrying on.

Your Suggestions are Good Ones

All of the things that you mention are viable alternatives (except spending time in the guardroom when you are not a prisoner) that would be considered for a driving offence in provincial court when Crown Counsel and a defence lawyer are involved in the proceedings.

Making a Deal is Rare in Traffic Court

In my experience, it is rare for an officer to make a deal in traffic court. There seems to be a reluctance on the part of the officer to ask and the JJP to provide as it entails more paperwork, scheduling and follow up.

You would likely do better if you approached the officer prior to the court date. Make an appointment to discuss the situation ahead of time. If you come to an agreement it is even possible for the officer to withdraw the ticket prior to the trial and you won't have to appear in traffic court.

I'm sure that I would be less than pleased with myself if I received a ticket for my driving choices and recognize that it is even more serious for a commercial driver.

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Although 3 points on your license seems trivial to many, I applaud your desire to re-evaluate your driving in a more formal way. Many driving schools actually do have programs to help professional drivers who have recieved tickets, had crashes, etc. The thing is that this seldom removes the possibility of the officer rescinding the ticket.

The driving school which I work for has several different programs which have classroom theory, simulator time and on road time to help professional drivers re-evaluate their driving mistakes and misbeliefs and focus on a more cooperative form of driving.

For most professional drivers, the educational experience gives them a new awareness of the realities of speeding. An attitude adjustment I would call it. While the speed on a major highway may be 110kmh due to wide boulevarding, good sight lines and divided roadways, Highway 7 does not fall into that category. The possibility of suddenly coming upon wildlife, pedestrian or bicycle traffic (even at 22:58pm on a Monday night) are bigger. Bus service is at a minimum in the area so pedestrians and bicyclists are more likely and legal here. This is why the speed limit is set to 80kmh.

Your bigger vehicle, your inability to see what is happening past your headlights at that speed and your increased stopping distance actually make for a very dangerous combination.

Because of this fact and the reality that as experienced drivers we forget the basic driving math we learned back when we started, most professionals could do with the revised educational help whether the ticket gets reduced or not. I would encourage you to spend the time and money, find a good program at one of the driving schools in the area and make sure you don't make the same mistake in the future. No more tickets will look much better on your abstract accompanied by a statement of training from a reputable school than you making the same mistake again in the future because you don't realize the seriousness of going that little bit above the limit.

I personally wish that demerit reduction for participating in a driver awareness program was an option for BC drivers as it is in many other jurisdictions. Our roads would be so much safer if drivers only believed that driving is a life long learning process. I have always found it ludicrous that drivers who lose their licenses for having too many points simply pay up at the end of their suspension with no requirement to learn to be better road citizens.

Good luck with your future driving and check that speedometer more often :)