By Rose Behar
Drivers in Halifax may notice something different the next time they are ticketed for a traffic violation. That’s because the Halifax Regional Police has become the first force in Nova Scotia to switch to the new system of electronic ticketing.
Superintendent Bill Moore says the updated process, which is already in place in many other provinces, will make ticketing quicker and more efficient.
The change applies to all summary offence tickets, which include not only traffic-related offences, but also offences such as intoxication in a public place and breaking the noise by-law.
“What we had before was a carbon-copy triplicate form that had to be hand written,” says Moore, “not only did the process take longer, but there was a much higher chance of errors being made on the ticket.”
Under the new process, when an officer gives a ticket, he or she will take the driver’s license of the offender, swipe it through a card-reader, and then add in some information such as the specific offence. The machine will then automatically fill out the remaining fields, such as time and date. It will also automatically generate a court date 60 days in advance.
Once printed, digital copies are automatically sent to both the court and the police records.
“In the olden days,” says Moore, “filing that paperwork could have taken two to three weeks.”
But although the technological change is significant, Moore says the process of ticketing will stay primarily the same.
“It’s still up to the officer’s discretion. They decide if they lay a charge, and they can decide not to – all that is exactly the same. The only difference is how quick and easy it makes the process, for the officers, and for those getting a ticket.”