Last Friday, speeding drivers through the West Boundary Elementary school zone weren’t slapped with fines. Instead, they were served hand-written tickets, drawn up by the students the low speed limit is meant to protect.
The initiative, dubbed the “Think of Me Ticket,” was brought about by local Const. Denny Viktora, who developed the idea when he was stationed in Chilliwack, as a way of making the danger real to drivers who ignore the signs.
First, the constable got the students in Kindergarten through Grade 3 at the school submitted their tickets to the Midway RCMP. Officers then selected the tickets that were handed out to drivers last Friday. But students didn’t just create the messages on the tickets, like “Stop. Speeding is bad, or jail,” they also rode with Viktora and personally handed them to the drivers.
“They were shocked to see us with the kids,” Viktora said.
Over the course of seven hours, Viktora estimated that students, ranging from Kindergarten to Grade 3, served more than 45 drivers their tickets. After a traffic patrol officer originally pulled speeders over and ensure the situation was safe, Viktora drove up with his young apprentices.
“Think of me when you’re speeding through my school zone,” the children would say. Some offenders were shocked.
“We had one lady full-out cry,” Viktora said, noting that when drivers said sorry, they looked at the kids and not at him.
“The kids loved it, and it’s more impactful [that way],” the constable added. “The goal was to make it about the kids and not just the fine.”
Last Friday, a police officer from Nelson was also on-site to watch how the children and drivers interacted. Viktora said that he hopes the ticketing program can take off in other communties as well.