Ticketed drivers pick workshops

Ticketed drivers have gone home with their wallets intact after taking up the opportunity to waive fines by spending a few hours in a traffic safety workshop.

Palmerston North police, Horizons Regional Council, and iHOW Legal Drivers Project's Suzanne Carpenter are working together on the Traffic Offenders Educational Diversion scheme, in which traffic offenders can have their tickets waived if they participate in a two-hour educational workshop.

Senior Sergeant Phil Ward said the 70 people ticketed for minor traffic offences in the past week were given a flier inviting them to take part.

Qualifying offences were those considered "crash promoting", like failing to give way, failing to stop, rolling through stop signs, and breach of licence restrictions.

The fines for such offences ranged from $55 to $150, and most of the people at the workshop had $150 fines.

The first of the workshops, which took place at the Highbury Whanau Centre on Wednesday night, was attended by 50 people.

The response was "somewhat overwhelming", Mr Ward said, as a previous trial of similar workshops had low attendance rates.

Participants, who ranged in age from 17 to late 60s, watched road safety videos and took part in activities and quizzes based on the road code.

They were also provided with hot drinks and a barbecue, and spot prizes were given to individuals and teams.

Mr Ward said people remaining on their learner licences for years was a problem in Palmerston North, and one of the things that became clear in the workshop was that those people didn't know where they could go to get help progressing through the licence process.

Work and Income could provide benefit allowances, and there were driver's licence caravans at the Milson and Highbury shopping centre car parks that could assist.

The workshops would run once a week for the rest of the month, then would be reassessed.

Mr Ward said he hoped that such workshops could be run periodically in future.

Manawatu Standard