But recently Huron County OPP Const. Ron Young received a card from a driver he had charged with distracting driving, because she was using her cell phone on the road, saying the lesson may have saved her life.
Around lunchtime on May 25, Jennifer Walker, a 19-year-old university student from Centralia and was stopped by the bicycle patrol officer on Main Street in Exeter. He issued her the $155 ticket, plus gave her a warning for not wearing her seatbelt.
Just two days after being ticketed she was driving on Whalen Line east of Centralia Ontario, when she was struck broadside by a vehicle that failed to stop for a stop sign. She sustained a concussion, broken hand and bruised ribs, but her seatbelt was on and her cell phone was tucked away.
“I would like to send my complete appreciation to you for issuing me a ticket for using my cell phone while operating a vehicle as well as not wearing my seat belt. I walked away from the crash with the loss of a vehicle with minor breaks, bruises and bumps,” Walker wrote, in the thank-you card.
“The lessons learned upon receiving the ticket from you prevented a far worse outcome and possibly even saved my life. Sincerely, from someone who has a new appreciation for the duties of a police officer,” she said.
Huron County’s OPP detachment commander, Chris Martin, said he was impressed by Walker’s commitment to change her driving habits.
“Unfortunately, there are still far too many drivers on our roadways that are not altering their driving behaviors despite extensive education and enforcement. It is a well-known fact that taking unnecessary driving risks leads to serious injuries and preventable deaths,” he said.
Distracted driving and failing to wear a seatbelt are two of the Big Four high risk driving behaviours that lead to serious or fatal motor vehicle collisions on provincial roadways.