What if Lafayette Police Could Text Your Speeding Ticket Instead of Pulling You Over?
What if I told you that you would never have to worry about being pulled over for minor traffic violations ever again?
If all goes well in Bexar County Texas, it could be a reality for motorists who don't want to deal with the hassle or anxiety of a traffic stop on top of the fines and penalties that come with speeding or minor traffic infractions.
Val Garcia is President & CEO of the Trusted Driver Program—the program behind this new concept. Garcia is one of five former San Antonio Police Department officers that make up the 12-member team at Trusted Driver and he says while this new concept isn't a "100% solution, but it's a step forward in the right direction."
Garcia says the Trusted Driver team is proud to give back what they've gained with their experience in law enforcement.
The patrol level, we have an individual who spent time in investigations, we have an individual who spent time on the tactics and those kinds of units that involve how officers handle certain situations. Most importantly, we have an individual who spent his career as a SAFFE officer on the east side of town.
One thing to know is that Trusted Driver is not an app. Instead, it's a web-based program that allows users to register at mytrusteddriver.com and create a profile. Users are asked to include important information like disclosing any disabilities, medical conditions, or anything police should know about.
If you're deaf, if you have PTSD, autism, a medical condition like diabetes or a physical disability but you're still allowed to drive. It really gives an officer information faster in the field to handle a traffic stop if it does occur and be able to deescalate.
Once the user enters their information (safe, encrypted, and not shared with third parties), police won't turn their lights on and pull them over for minor traffic violations.
Instead, the officer will run the license plate, verify that you are the driver of the vehicle, pull up the Trusted Driver information, then send a message to the cell phone number provided in your profile.
The cell phone has to be hands-free and mounted on your car and by transportation code, you're allowed to respond to a notification - just like an AMBER alert.
Another part of the Trusted Driver Program that users may like is that you can contest your ticket and handle all court proceedings virtually through the program as well. As someone who just got a parking ticket downtown after I paid for four hours of parking through the new ParkMobile app, I can't tell you how much I would love to handle issues like this without having to drive to a physical place or pick up a phone to track down a human who can help me rectify these types of situations.
The program will also be used for officers to send warnings to motorists.
It also gives our officers an opportunity to interact with members of Trusted Driver where they don't issue a citation. 'You've got a tail light out, whenever you want to take care of that.'
Officers will also be able to use Trusted Driver to pay compliments and let people know when they're doing a great job following all the rules of the road.
The Trusted Driver program is free and drivers can opt-out whenever they want—but for now, it will only be available in Texas with the Windcrest Police Department and only for drivers who live there (for now).
I do believe it's probably something that's going to spread probably entirely across the nation.
I can't speak for everyone, but I would much rather deal with speeding tickets or any traffic citations from the convenience of my smartphone, although I know some may argue that motorists may not learn their lesson without interaction with an officer. Using that logic, getting pulled over for speeding once should cure us from ever speeding again, right?
It should also be noted that any actual criminal or person trying to keep a low profile isn't likely to voluntarily offer up their info to police. Think of it was TSA pre-check for motorists, but the perk is that you don't have to deal with the hassle of being pulled over when you make a minor traffic mistake.
Either way, let us know if you'd love to see something like this in Lafayette and we'll definitely keep an eye on Trusted Driver in the meantime.
If you want more info you can check out their website here.