Warnings just don’t work; police to get tougher on drivers

Police will now only issue warnings to drivers with a more than 10-yr-old license and clean driving record.

By RON FRIEDMAN
April 2, 2010 00:48
1 minute read.
A traffic cop speaks to a driver.

traffic cop 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The police announced Thursday that it would be issuing far fewer warning reports to drivers caught committing traffic violations.

A study compiled by the Traffic Division indicated that drivers who were issued warnings did not change their driving habits, and in fact tended to violate the law more than drivers who were ticketed.

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Starting April 1, the police will only issue warnings to drivers who have had a license for more than 10 years and have a clean driving record for the last five years and this too, only for certain, non-dangerous violations.

This policy replaces the policy in effect from 2005 that gave police officers discretion on when to issue a warning instead of a ticket, mostly for offenses that don’t require a court hearing like speeding or parking violations.

The study that led to the decision was compiled over two years and surveyed more than 10,000 drivers.

“An empiric and quantitative examination of the study’s findings left no room for doubt regarding the intimidation effectiveness of warnings. The findings show that the warning report is seen as a ‘second chance’ and not as an intimidating threat that will alter future behavior,” said the police spokesman.


The study also found that drivers who were issued warnings were twice as likely to commit further violations than others who were forced to pay a fine or appear in court.



“We assumed that people would take the warnings seriously and take advantage of the chance they got to correct their driving behavior. The study results proved we were wrong in our assumptions about human nature,” said the spokesman.

The police also reminded the public that from April 1 until the end of October, drivers are not required to use their headlights during the daytime hours on inter-city roads.

Drivers of motorcycles, taxis, trucks and buses are still required to turn on their headlights whenever they take to the road.

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