Police in Sudbury, Ontario are backtracking from a campaign launched at the end of January to encourage people to call into Crime Stoppers to report bad senior drivers.
The safe-driving task force launched by the Greater Sudbury Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and other community groups was intended to allow citizens to call in and anonymously report sightings of dangerous drivers.
However, a recent emphasis placed on senior drivers had the elderly calling in in droves to complain about being unfairly targeted.
Greater #Sudbury Police Services said it isn’t targeting senior drivers, but traffic officers do keep close eye on “geezers” and “punk kids”
— Sudbury News Now (@SudburyNewsNow) February 21, 2013
Greater Sudbury police chief Frank Elsner apologized for offending some seniors, but maintained that the purpose of the campaign was not to ostracize the elderly.
The vast majority of complaints we get, not through the tip lines, but just directly to us, are from family members that do not want to have that very difficult conversation with their mother or father. So we get the call and then we’re the bad guy.
He added that police were hoping to encourage a discussion with seniors about when it may be appropriate for them to stop driving.
Under the campaign, a plainclothes police officer would have been sent to the home of the reported on senior driver to talk about safety issues and offer assistance.
Elsner told the CBC:
Our hearts were in the right place, it had nothing to do with targeting anybody, any specific segment of our population.
According to police figures, senior drivers account for almost as many traffic accidents as those aged 24 and under.
Who should report dangerous senior drivers? Adult children, doctors, neighbours, all of us bit.ly/YhLWzi
— Jennifer Jilks (@jennjilks) February 22, 2013