New SLO PD traffic violation program aims to educate, not punish

Posted at 11:36 PM, Sep 06, 2018

There are countless ways to break traffic laws and usually that comes with a hefty fine. But you can get off the hook from certain violations in San Luis Obispo with a new program aiming to educate, rather than punish.

How do you avoid paying? Just tell your friends what traffic law you violated and be on your way.

On Thursday, San Luis Obispo Police Department introduced a new "Traffic Warning Program."

"What we’re trying to do with this program is reach a large audience and get out what is illegal and what kind of things they may be doing out in the community that they don’t even know is against the law," said Sgt. John Villanti.

San Luis Obispo is ranked one of the worst when it comes to bicycle, vehicle collisions, according to Villanti.

On the back of the warning is the outline of the 10 violations police are targeting.

Police say its a way to market knowledge by posting the violation on social media.

"If we can reach out to hundreds of people on one stop and get them educated, and make a positive contact and they start talking about it, then hopefully our numbers will improve as far as our collisions go in the city," said Villanti.

On social media, specifically some cyclists called it a great idea while others questioned how it would help if there isn’t accountability. Police did post on Facebook that "warnings will not be dependent on the social media post, it’s simply going to be a request."

Flagrant violations will still be ticketed and repeat violators could also see a fine.

Police say a majority of incidents occur in downtown SLO and also by Foothill Blvd. and Cal Poly with many students using bicycles as their main mode of transportation.