Own a car long enough, and you're bound to make repairs. Many people have replaced a burnt-out bulb, and many of them have been informed about it while sitting on the side of the road with a police officer at their driver's window. A handful likely received a fix-it ticket to provoke compliance, but the Denver Police Department is taking a different approach. Instead of handing out tickets, officers are handing out gift cards, according to KDVR.
Denver PD and Advance Auto Parts have partnered to promote vehicle safety awareness. Locally, the company donated 100 $25 gift cards to the police department for officers to hand out to citizens if they're pulled over for a safety violation, like a broken headlight or taillight. The goal is to get motorists to fix the violation and get them safely back on the road. Ultimately, it'll be up to the officer's discretion whether they issue the motorist a ticket or give them a gift card.
Burnt-out lights are dangerous, and this is an opportunity for police to address the problem proactively. These types of safety violations are a hazard to other motorists and pedestrians, and police should be watching for these violations. However, simply issuing a ticket in the hopes that motorists fix the issue isn't a panacea for vehicle safety.
It'll be interesting to see how the program plays out in the coming months. The police department and Advance Auto Parts should be able to track the program's performance and determine if it's genuinely getting people to fix their vehicles. The program will also help police strengthen their relationships with the community by avoiding what some consider strict and punitive penalties that don’t actually address the problem. If it's a success, it could be a model other departments consider moving forward.