It’s dangerous out there on the highways and byways of America for a police officer issuing a traffic ticket. Handing out those tickets means leaving the relative safety of the car and walking over to talk to drivers, a risk one Oklahoma lawmaker thinks could be avoided with electronic citations.
And no, the drivers wouldn’t suddenly get a beep on their phones with a notification that they’ve been driving over the speed limit. According to the state senator’s proposal, those citations for traffic, misdemeanor and municipal ordinance violations would be sent directly to the district court clerk, reports the Insurance Journal.
It’s unclear but it seems then that drivers would receive a ticket in the mail alerting them after the fact to their violation.
“Allowing officers to issue electronic citations will help better protect them. If they don’t have to approach vehicles during traffic stops to give people tickets but can simply email traffic violation citations directly to the district court clerk then they’re less likely to get into a dangerous altercation,” said former police officer, Sen. Al McAffrey.
And of course there’s a fee for the convenience of not being pulled over — $5 would be added to the amount paid by defendants convicted of speeding, certain misdemeanor traffic violations, or driving under the influence misdemeanor or felony.
As for how officers would decide someone is under the influence without approaching the car to do sobriety tests, that’s unclear. And what if someone who’s speeding would slow down if they knew they’d just gotten a ticket, but instead kept speeding? Or maybe a routine traffic stop would’ve unearthed something far more villainous than just a simple ticket but there’s no cop to sniff out say, a hostage tied up in the trunk.
So many questions, but McAffrey thinks this will work and improve officer safety.
“Routine traffic stops are one of the most dangerous times for officers to become injured because they don’t know what kind of situation or individual they’re approaching. They’re walking up blind,” he explained. “We need to provide better protection for them by not putting them in harm’s way unnecessarily. By allowing them to submit electronic citations, they’d no longer have to leave the safety of their car.”
One thing’s for sure — the show Cops would be a lot more boring it if was filmed in a state with emailed traffic tickets.
Oklahoma Bill Would Allow Electronic Citations for Traffic Violations [Insurance Journal]