Workshops working out just fine for offenders

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 30/11/2012

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More than 140 people have collectively saved more than $16,000 in fines over the course of November by exchanging their driving tickets for two hours of their time in a traffic safety workshop.

Palmerston North police, Horizons Regional Council, and iHOW Legal Drivers Project's Suzanne Carpenter worked together on the traffic offenders educational diversion scheme, where offenders can have their tickets waived if they take part in a two-hour educational workshop.

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

Fines range from $55 to $150.

The scheme ran classes once a week for the month of November, and saw so many people through in the first few weeks it was standing room only at the Highbury Whanau Centre and the number of qualifying offences had to be limited, Palmerston North Senior Sergeant Phil Ward said.

Over the course of the month, 231 tickets were issued for qualifying offences, and 142 people attended the seminars.

Participants watched road safety videos and took part in activities and quizzes based on the road code, and were also provided with hot drinks and a barbecue, and spot prizes were given to individuals and teams.

About 80 per cent of the people who attended the seminars had fines of $150.

The idea was to ensure people went away with a better knowledge of the the road code and road safety.

High among the areas of confusion evident from the seminars was the give-way rules, and the distance drivers are meant to keep from each other and from cyclists.

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