SOME local police officers will be the first in British Columbia to put down their pens and issue roadside electronic traffic violation tickets (eTickets) as part of a pilot program designed to make roads safer.
The Delta Police Department is now the first of five police agencies to scan drivers’ licence information into a new online ticket template that auto-populates offence details, ensuring accuracy while saving time. In turn, the vehicle-mounted equipment will rapidly share this information with justice-sector partners like ICBC, eliminating the need to mail tickets to these partners and for them to re-enter the details.
“If we can make it harder for bad drivers to avoid the consequences of their decisions, and we can identify more quickly those drivers who perhaps shouldn’t be on the road, that will help us to prevent crashes, save lives and keep auto insurance affordable,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Based on the program’s design and success in other jurisdictions, we’re optimistic that we’ll see these results during the pilot.”
“ETicketing will allow police officers to leverage technology,” said Neil Dubord, Delta Police Chief Constable and Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety committee. “The process is simply more efficient and quicker, and police officers will be freed up to do more enforcement. While not everyone will welcome the idea of police officers handing out more tickets, we believe this will improve road safety in the long term.”
The Vancouver Police Department is scheduled to begin issuing eTickets on April 2, Prince George Municipal and North District RCMP on April 16 and the Capital Regional District Integrated Road Safety Unit on April 30. The pilot program will wrap in mid-May and report to the ministry in the summer, informing the consideration of a provincial rollout.
“The less time you, as an officer, have to spend outside your vehicle at the roadside, particularly when weather and road conditions are poor, the safer you are, so that’s one top reason that we’re eager to participate in this pilot,” said Inspector Jayson Lucash, Officer in Charge, RCMP North District Traffic Services.
The contents, penalties and validity of eTickets will match that of traditional, written tickets. However, eTicket recipients will have the option to pay their eTickets through a new online payment service, PayBC, or continue to use existing payment methods, such as in-person at ServiceBC or ICBC locations, by phone or by mail.
- The eTicketing pilot follows related changes to the Offence Act last fall, detailed here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017PSSG0063-001807
- PayBC is an online service launching with the eTicket pilot program and will expand as more government services begin to offer this convenient online payment option. PayBC went live on March 5: https://pay.gov.bc.ca
- An eTicketing application within the Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME-BC) will make processing traffic violations faster and more efficient for police officers, reducing the time they spend at the roadside.