Ticket or education: take your pick

‘Option 4’ offered on child restraint violations

Gord Fortin
Lakeside Leader

Drivers who are ticketed for the improperly restraining a child in a vehicle have an educational option to pursue that can get the ticket withdrawn.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) Health Promotion Facilitator Tim Horsman said this is called Option Four. It takes its name because when a traffic ticket is issued there are usually only three ways to deal with it. The driver can pay the ticket, plead not guilty by mail or plead not guilty in court. Option Four is only available for traffic tickets related to improper car seat use or incorrectly restraining a passenger under age 16.
Horsman said most of the tickets issued are child car seat related. Drivers may also be ticketed if one of their teenage passengers is not buckled up properly. In this case multiple tickets could be issued based on how many minors are not restrained.
Drivers that elect this option would have to attend a course that covers safe transportation of children and young adults. The proper safety protocols for child safety seats, booster seats and proper seat belt use for kids are covered.
If this course is completed, the traffic ticket will be recommended for withdrawal. For this to work, the ticketed driver must be the one who attends the session and he or she must arrive on time and stay for the entire duration. The driver will have to bring the ticket and driver’s license. This information is available on albertaseatbelts.ca.
This program is offered in partnership with AHS as well as law enforcement. Horsman said this partnership is important because there needs to be enough time between the issuing of the ticket and the court date for the driver to attend the education session.
“There is usually a bit of an extension on what a regular traffic ticket date would be,” Horsman said.
There has been positive feedback. People appreciate that this initiative is available to them.
“It’s been a very successful program,” he said.
Horsman explained that some people are happier to have learned the proper way of transporting their children rather than avoid the $155 fine.
The education sessions typically run in conjunction with the occupant restraint months. Those months are March and October. Horsman said that doesn’t mean the sessions are only available at those times, as they are available at any time of year. The sessions are available locally but depending on scheduling, attendees may have to travel outside of Slave Lake for a session.
There are no set dates for the next session. Horsman works with law enforcement on scheduling.
If you are interested attending one of these sessions you can do so by calling Horsman at 780-849-5101 ext. 532.

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