This week I’d like to raise a glass of… Cranberry Juice, in salute to the efforts of Constable Ian MacDonald, Public Information Officer of the Abbotsford Police Department, who works to find ways of engaging the public in the very serious business of Road Safety. Every July, for four years now, the department has been tweeting out the most anticipated “Excuses Campaign” to make a point about Road Safety, with a bit of humour. Here’s Const. Ian MacDonald:
“Now that it is a four-year running success I’ll take credit for it, but when I think back to when I came up with the idea, the premise, which is our main focus, was to get people talking about road safety. We’ve done some hard-hitting stuff, that some people have challenged us as being disturbing in a more serious sense. For example, we released footage of a pedestrian being struck in a crosswalk and launched about thirty feet down the road. The video was taken from a perspective far enough away that you don’t see any specific injury, but it showed the person as looking like a mannequin flying through the air. At the moment when the driver approached the crosswalk, she reached into her purse to get her cell phone. That momentary distraction resulted in the pedestrian being struck in the middle of the crosswalk. He survived and with his, and the driver’s, permission, we released some footage. It certainly was attention-getting, but most of the newscasts had to preface it with a warning about the content not being suitable for all views and so on. But we thought it was important to show the physics of a vehicle striking a pedestrian and some of the consequences of distracted driving. That was an edgy campaign that we did, but to keep a public focus on the issue of Road Safety, at various points in our calendar we approach road safety from various directions.
I regularly hear stories from members about some of the crazy excuses drivers say as an excuse for their driving or as a way to mitigate a ticket. Four years ago, I thought, since we get a chuckle out of these why not share them on our social media platforms and engage a conversation about road safety in a different way.”
Here are this year’s submissions:
Driver after running a red light: “My gas light is on. If I stop and stall it could cause an accident”
Excessive speeder doing 150 in a 50 zone: “I had to go that fast, there was another car completely riding my a%#.”
Speeding Driver: “I was hurrying to get home before dark. I don’t see well.”
Driver stopped after doing 200 km/h: “Is it possible to just get a warning?”
Driver: “I wasn’t on my phone. My wife was holding it while I talked.”
Arrested impaired driver to APD officer: “If it were another time, we could be friends and hang out.”
Distracted driver filming the aftermath of a crash: “I’m not distracted, I’m getting video as a learning tool on what not to do.”
Impaired Driver at 7 am on a winter’s morning: “Thanks for ruining my Christmas holidays over this! Is nothing sacred?”
After running through a stop sign: “I didn’t want to use my brakes.”
Abby Police stop a driver with cell phones in both hands and using his knee to steer and says: “I know this looks bad…”
Distracted Driver: “I mean really! Define safety!” APD Officer: “The opposite to what you’re doing.”
Driver, after miserably failing a field sobriety test: “Can I come back tomorrow when I’m sober?”
And finally, “A speeding driver demands a warning ticket from an APD officer. When the officer refuses, the driver begins making loud goat sounds. Our officer reciprocates.”
So whether you’re in Abbotsford or anywhere else in the lower mainland, and you make an illegal u-turn, and get pulled over, don’t be ram-tough, pig-headed, coy or sheepish about it. If the cat’s got your tongue let it be, lest you get the Officer’s goat, and end up on Abbotsford’s Most Tweeted.
To view the wonderful graphics accompanying these, go to https://twitter.com/abbypolicedept or @AbbyPolicedept .
Thanks Const. MacDonald!